SINGAPORE – Stun guns used on 22 occasions but no deaths, serious injuries reported (2009-12-14)

Published on December 14 2009 by admin

[[Comments/summary: Even as Australia launched fresh investigations on Wednesday into the use of stun guns by law enforcers, police officers in Singapore will continue to use the Taser X26 for now. The police say: “Since the SPF armed a group of officers from two Neighbourhood Police Centres (NPC) with the Taser X26 in July 2005, the stun guns have been used on at least 22 occasions involving physically-violent or armed subjects.”]]

EVEN as Australia launched fresh investigations on Wednesday into the use of stun guns by law enforcers, police officers here will continue to use the Taser X26 for now.

Debate had erupted over the safety and possible misuse of stun guns after several people in Canada and the United States died, in separate incidents during the last two months, after being zapped by law enforcers.

One video posted online — showing Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski being tasered by policemen in Vancouver Airport and then dying shortly after — had caught the attention of millions.

Responding to Today’s queries, a Singapore Police Force (SPF) spokesperson said: “In general, actions taken by police officers are calibrated to be proportional to the threat posed by subjects.

“We do accept that stun guns carry an inherent risk of injury. Ultimately, the Police’s aim is to allow officers to resolve a dangerous situation with minimal injury to the subject, the public and the officers themselves.”

But the SPF would continue to “monitor updated reports on the efficacy of the Taser”.

Since the SPF armed a group of officers from two Neighbourhood Police Centres (NPC) with the Taser X26 in July 2005, the stun guns have been used on at least 22 occasions involving physically-violent or armed subjects.

No serious injuries or deaths linked to its use have been reported here, said the police spokesperson. A check with two public hospitals here revealed that no one has been admitted for injuries related to shocks from stun guns.

Since July, the stun gun has been rolled out to the remaining four NPCs.

Not all police officers carry the stun gun — they must first undergo training on its handling, maintenance and guidelines before they are allowed to carry one.

The stun guns work by shooting two barbed darts, which hook onto the suspect’s skin or clothes and send a 50,000-volt electric current through the body for five seconds.

The zap induces involuntary muscle contractions, which temporarily incapacitates the suspect, and allows the police to move in to subdue the person.

Rights group Amnesty International had reportedly linked the stun gun to 150 deaths in the past six years across the globe because the current is too strong.

But Taser International has defended itself, clarifying in earlier media reports that similar deaths had been shown by “medical science and forensic analysis” to be “attributable to other factors and not the low-energy discharge of the Taser”.

However, its US manufacturer added that in Taser-related deaths, coroners had attributed the cause to heart problems, drug overdose or asphyxiation.

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