‘Safety Must Come First’ As Taser Deployment Continues To Rise

Home Office Figures Reveal Deployments Doubled Between 2009 And 2011


By Rob Dixon

Legal experts representing victims as a result of the use of excessive force by the police have urged forces to ensure officers are provided with quality support regarding the use of tasers, after new figures revealed the use of such equipment has doubled in two years.

According to the Home Office, the number of deployments of the equipment increased from 3,128 in 2009 to 7,877 in 2011.

However, it also revealed that the number of deployments which involved the equipment being fired dropped from 23.2 per cent to 20.8 per cent over the same period.

The figures have been released around ten years after it was agreed that forces could make tasers available to authorised firearms officers, as well as following a number of cases in which the use of the equipment has been called into question.

Irwin Mitchell’s Public Law team represents people who have been seriously injured as a result of the use of tasers or excessive force by the police.

Fiona McGhie, a solicitor at the national law firm’s Sheffield office who specialises in such cases, said: “Through our work, we have seen first-hand the long-term injuries and distress that the use of tasers can cause and also come across situations where the equipment has been deployed in an inappropriate situation or manner.

“Weapons like tasers must only ever be used in the most extreme situations and police forces need to ensure they are provided the best possible training, supervision and support to officers who are given access to them. Tasers should be used as a last resort.

“This is not about the availability of tasers – it is about ensuring that those who have them understand the implications of their use and why it is vital they are only used in extreme and absolutely exceptional circumstances.”

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