Police Threatened Over 400 Children With Tasers In 2013

Ex-Home Secretary Calls For Review Of Taser Use

25.02.2015

More than 400 children had Tasers drawn on them by police in 2013, according to figures obtained by the BBC via a Freedom of Information request, representing a 38% increase compared with the previous year.

Police aimed the electroshock weapons at a total of 431 under-18s during 2013, and fired at 37. The youngest person to be threatened with a Taser was 11, while the youngest fired at was 14. Additionally, the figures revealed that people as old as 82 have been fired on.

The rate of Taser use on under-18s was particularly high in Humberside, Staffordshire and the West Midlands.

David Blunkett, the ex-Home Secretary who originally introduced Tasers to police forces in the UK, said it is time to review the use of the weapon and find out whether there are alternatives.

"For a youngster, 11 years old, a Taser is not in my view an appropriate way of dealing with a situation which clearly must have been out of hand, but where we need to train people to use much more traditional alternatives," he told BBC Five Live.

A Home Office spokesman said the Taser is an "important tactical option" for police officers, but conceded that their use should be scrutinised.

If you or a loved one has suffered unlawful arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution or injuries caused by police, contact Irwin Mitchell on 0370 1500 100 or visit our Claims Against the Police page for more information.

Expert Opinion
Through our work, we have seen first-hand the physical injuries and distress that the use of Tasers can cause, so it is extremely concerning to read this report which indicates a significant number of children have been Tasered and that this number appears to be rising. Tasers should only be used in the most extreme circumstances, but we see regular examples of them being deployed in inappropriate situations or manner against children. The increased use of Tasers nationally is concerning in itself but additional scrutiny needs to be applied when Tasers are used against children.

“We welcome the calls from a number of political figures to review the use of Tasers by the police and we believe it must be reiterated that the weapons should only ever be used in the most extreme situations. It is crucial police forces are provided with the best possible training, supervision and support for officers authorised to use Tasers and the message reinforced that they should be used as a last resort. Inappropriate use of Tasers can result in a legal challenge by the victims.

“This is about ensuring that officers who are given access to Tasers understand when to use them and the implications of their use, particularly on young people, and why it is vital they are only used in extreme and absolutely exceptional circumstances.”
Fiona McGhie, Associate