UK – London: Taser use should be ‘a last resort’ (2013-10-15)

Published on October 16 2013 by admin

[[SUMMARY / COMMENTS : The user of Tasers by the Metropolitan Police Service (M’PS – London Police) needs to be ‘very closely monitored’ and ‘a last resort’, a report, issued the London Police and Crime Committee has said today. The 2012 decision to nearly triple the number of MPS officers trained to use Taser and deploy increased numbers of the Tasers failed to adequately explain why the Met felt more weapons are needed or properly consult the public about the deployment. Policing by consent, and by a largely unarmed force, is giving way to taser-use and taser-creep. Need for regularly published, transparent statistics on taser use.]]

London24, by Sarah Shaffi.

The user of Tasers by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) needs to be ‘very closely monitored’ and ‘a last resort’, a report has said today.

Arming the Met: The deployment of less-lethal weapons in London sets out a series of recommendations to the police regarding the use of the weapons.

The Police and Crime Committee, which put together the report, concluded that the 2012 decision to nearly triple the number of MPS officers trained to use Taser and deploy increased numbers of the Tasers failed to adequately explain why the Met felt more weapons are needed or properly consult the public about the deployment.

Committee chair Joanne McCartney AM said: “Every day police officers put their lives at risk to keep London’s streets safe. It is right that they have the equipment they need to do that job as effectively and safely as possible.

“But the Met must also ensure the British traditions of policing by consent, and by a largely unarmed force, are not undermined by a rush to expand the deployment of weaponry without fully explaining why it is needed.

“The Met and the Deputy Mayor for Policing must ensure that the use of Taser and other less-lethal weapons is very closely monitored to guard against the dangers of ‘mission creep’ and any suggestion of its use as a coercive tool rather than a last resort to prevent injury to officers and the public.”

Among the committee’s recommendations were that the Met should set out why additional force is required before expanding the availability of less –lethal weapons, and that data on pan-London and borough Taser use should be published quarterly including breakdowns of the age, ethnicity, and mental health status of people who have had Taser deployed against them.

Scotland Yard said it welcomed the committee’s “close scrutiny” on a “sensitive issue” and said it had plans to launch a website “in the near future” to provide regularly updated information on the use of Tasers.

“Our priority at all times is the safety and protection of the public,” said a statement.

“Taser is proven to be a valuable tool in reducing the risk of harm to the police, violent offenders and other members of the public.

“Taser provides distance in potentially violent incidents and give officers another, less lethal tactical option. In the majority of cases where Taser is drawn the mere presence of the Taser is sufficient to defuse the situation and prevent injury.

“We recognise the importance of public engagement and accept the need for a more consistent public engagement framework.

“As such we will be launching a website in the near future, which will aim to provide data around the use of Taser and community impact assessments on a regular basis.”

http://www.london24.com/news/taser_use_should_be_a_last_resort_1_2882360

 

 

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