The 14 Words

Sunday, 27 October 2013

The UK Today: Tasering kids an everyday occurrence.

Tasers are being used by police against children as young as 11 almost every day, figures have revealed.

Armed officers discharged, targeted or threatened to use the 50,000-volt weapons against youngsters more than 320 times a year – an 11-fold increase from the first year they were cleared for use against under-18s in 2007.

It emerged earlier this year that a girl aged just 12 had been shot by police with a Taser device in St Helens. Other children aged 11 have been threatened by officers with the weapons, forces have admitted.

Critics pointed out that the revelations about the controversial of Tasers by the police come at a bad time for forces – just as they are ‘in the dock’ over their conduct in the Plebgate scandal.

In the first year of officers being cleared to Taser children, they were used just 29 times in England. By 2009, this total had increased to 135. New figures released to Parliament show that one year later, in 2010, the weapons were used 339 times against children. By 2011 – the latest year that figures are available, the total stood at 323.

The figures were not broken down into whether the guns were fired, or whether officers targeted children with a red dot laser to threaten them.

Sophie Khan, solicitor-advocate specialising in Taser-related injuries and director of Police Action Centre, said she was appalled by the findings – and called for the use of Tasers on children to be prohibited.

‘It is shocking that Tasers have been used on under 18s nearly once a day for the last two years,’ she said.
‘Tasers should only be used on children and young adults if there is no other feasible way to restrain them due to the specific health risks they could suffer. If the Taser is fired at their chest there is a higher risk they will suffer a cardiac arrest. 
‘The statistics show that the Taser is being used in contravention of the Taser Policy and Guidance, due to the dramatic increase in their use on under 18’s. This needs to be addressed by the police forces immediately before there is a serious injury caused to a child or young adults.’

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