CRAE Press Statement on increase in Taser officers
In response to the announcement from the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police that more officers will be trained to use Taser, CRAE said:
“The more Tasers we have on our streets, the more they are used on children and the more chances there are of mistakes being made, making children less safe.
Tasers can inflict intolerable pain. The government’s own medical advisory committee on Tasers has flagged up concerns and recommended further study into the safety risks of these devices on children. Last year the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said the UK should prohibit the use of Taser on children because of concerns about the impact on children’s physical and mental health.
Instead of eliminating their use, the Metropolitan Police’s own statistics show officers are increasingly using Taser on children. In 2008, after the devices were introduced, officers from the Metropolitan Police used them on children nine times. In the first eleven months of 2016 alone they were used 118 times (including being fired five times). Nearly 70% of these uses were on black and minority ethnic children.
The use of Taser on our children and young people must not become routine. The Metropolitan police must urgently review their training and guidance to ensure the use of these devices on children is avoided unless absolutely necessary and all other, less extreme options have been exhausted.
The police say Tasers can help them to protect the public and officers, but that mustn’t come at the cost of children’s safety and human rights.”
Notes to Editors
- The Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) is part of Just for Kids Law and works with 150 organisations and individual members to promote children’s rights, making us one of the biggest children’s rights coalitions in the world. CRAE’s work on children and policing in London is funded by Trust for London.
- CRAE requested figures from the Metropolitan Police on the use of Taser on children aged 17 years old or younger. The data was broken down by age; ethnicity and category of Taser use (i.e. Drawn, Aimed, Arched, Red Dotted, Drive Stun, Angled Drive Stun and Fired). In April 2017, the Metropolitan Police supplied data covering the period from January to November 2016 stating “the reason the data for December 2016 has not been supplied is because it can take up to twelve weeks for the necessary documents to be completed and then submitted for it to be updated onto the SCO19 (Specialist Crime and Operations) Taser database.”
- The announcement from the Metropolitan Police was made on 20th June 2017: http://news.met.police.uk/news/additional-officers-to-be-trained-in-use-of-taser-247387