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Suffolk/UK: Concerns raised over increased use of Tasers by police nationally

15:25 22 July 2014

An officer demonstrating the use of a Taser. Photo PA

An officer demonstrating the use of a Taser. Photo PA

Concerns were today raised over the national increase in the use of Tasers by police.

Figures released in a report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) show the number of times Tasers have been used have more than doubled in five years from 725 in 2009 to 1,733 last year.

Staffordshire Constabulary has the highest percentage of uses with 33 per 100 officers.

However, Suffolk Constabulary and Essex Police have relatively low ratios with seven and five uses per 100 officers respectively.

In total Tasers were discharged in Suffolk on 84 occasions last year and 152 times in Essex.

The highest usage in terms of volume was 2,110 by the Metropolitan Police and 995 by West Midlands.

Suffolk and Essex police stressed they adhere to the guidance issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers in relation to the use of the weapons.

IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts said: “The IPCC has always accepted that there are legitimate reasons for using Taser in policing and that it can be a valuable tool in assisting police officers to manage difficult and challenging situations.

“However, in light of the significant increase in Taser use, it is important to ensure that the device is being used appropriately and not as a default choice where other tactical options, including communication, could be effective.”

Superintendent Jon Dodman, of Suffolk Constabulary, said: “Taser is only carried by officers who are highly trained. Before deployment is considered an assessment is made based on the situation and the threat/risk presented. Taser is a very effective tool in resolving violent and threatening situations.

“It can be used to disarm and apprehend offenders and prevent them from hurting themselves or others. Often when someone is confronted with the possibility that a Taser may be used against them, they are compliant without it having to actually be discharged.

“Suffolk Police currently has around 150 officers who are Taser-trained.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “Taser is an important piece of equipment in the range of less lethal options. Since December 2008 it has been used by specially trained police officers in Essex to deal with potentially violent situations, while at the same time minimising harm to members of the public, police officers and offenders.

“In 2012 almost 70 per cent of Essex Police’s Taser incidents did not involve any discharge and just drawing it was enough to diffuse a situation. There are a total of 238 Essex Police officers trained to use Taser.”

4 comments

  • Police should be seconded for training by bouncers. The original report, leading to licensing of door stewards made the point that a bouncer will face more confrontations in a year than a police officer will in a whole career. It made the point, re crowd control that bouncers used far more advanced techniques than police. What was called the bouncers "Rule of 8". Door steward licensing was originally suggested as a vehicle to stop corrupt licensing policing and poor quality night time public order policing. It was Home Office, probably anxious to spin the police as professional, who concealed the reasons for the initial report and recommendations. You don't hear bouncers squealing for tasers to compensate for their own shortcomings. There again in one research in an area over a period there were a high number of assault cases awarded damages against police. One death in custody. A number of convictions of police officers for assaults. In the same period in the same area not one assault conviction of a door steward. By constantly increasing police weaponry there is a folly. People have already woken up to the concerns that police can be armed. Police get to decide which members of public can own firearms. But when, for example, the International Arms Decommissioners under Good Friday Agreement wanted to deploy, to investigate English police forces history of firearms certificate issues and indifference to law enforcement at certain gun ranges, the arms decommissioners were stopped. Going back over 30 years to when I did club door work we banned off duty police from our club. They caused so much trouble. Violent, cowardly, gang oriented bullies. The idea of arming their ilk has horrified me ever since.

    Report this comment

    Gezoo

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  • You've blown your cover, Norfolkboy, by the simple slip of a 'we'!

    Report this comment

    blueinblue

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  • This was widely predicted when police forces started rolling out tasers. Give the police anything they can abuse and they WILL abuse it. While they DO have to deal with some violent people who need to be subdued for the safety of all concerned, tasers just make it too easy for the police to ramp up the level of their violence unnecessarily, often against completely innocent people.

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  • Rather than beat the Police up as usual has anyone considered that there are just more violent people in society who are willing to use violence more readily against others specifically the Police when they arrest such persons, maybe the Police should be armed with fluffy pillows to throw at people who want to actively resist or should we they have a direct line to staff at the IPCC who could attend and show them how to detain the guy with the knife who is high on drink and drugs and intent on hurting the officers

    Report this comment

    Norfolkboy

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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