A less lethal weapon? As Taser use is rolled out across London, the public has much to fear

If we look abroad, the link between taser use and fatal injury has already been found

Share
Related Topics

Should the police have more Tasers in London? It’s an important question to ask, especially of those who may be subjected to their use. The arguments for more Tasers would be that Tasers are a less lethal option compared to a firearm. The arguments against their increased availability is that they would be seen to arm the police by stealth and have the potential to cause seriously injury.

So why were Londoners not consulted before the Commissioner embarked on his ‘Taser Roll-Out Programme’? That was one of the questions put to both the Commissioner and the Deputy Mayor of London as they gave evidence to the Police and Crime Committee’s Taser Working Group in June. Today, the Committee publishes their fundings, ‘Arming the Met, the deployment of less lethal weapons in London’. The report criticises not only the ambiguity over the decision-making process but the lack of data transparency and information given to the public.

But will these criticisms be enough to halt ‘Total Tasering’? It’s no secret that the Commissioner will continue with his ‘Total Policing’ agenda, especially as there does not seem to be any resistance from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, the policing body elected to hold the Commissioner to account. If the Mayor continues to sell the pass ‘Total Tasering’ will become a reality and will lead to policing the Capital by force.

The consequence of that will be that more people will be Tasered. There is already a growing number of individuals who have suffered injuries as a result of the Taser not just in London, but across the country. Last October, Colin Farmer, a blind man from Chorley was Tasered in the back as he made his way down a side street. And James McCarthy, a man from Liverpool, was Tasered in September 2012 and subsequently suffered a cardiac arrest, has last month issued a claim for damages for breach of his human rights under Article 2 and 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights. These are just a few examples of the innocent people being caught in the cross fire of this gun. 

To date there has been no direct link to a Taser-related death in Britain. However, in 2006, Brian Loan, a 47-year-old man from Sacriston, County Durham died three days after being Tasered in the back. The Coroner’s verdict at the time did not find a connection but, the Coroner did add that “It may be in five or ten years time somebody may find a link”.

If we look to America, Canada and Australia, the link has already been found. The militarisation of their police forces is likely to be one of the contributory factors which has led to the ready use of Tasers. It could also be due to the misconception that the Taser is non-lethal. The Commissioner also seems to hold a similar misconception about Tasers, as he considers them to be a ‘tool’ rather than a ‘weapon’. The Taser is a firearm: its use is controlled under section 5 of Firearms Act 1968 and should only be used when there is a life threatening incident. If the Taser is used outside such circumstances then its use could be deemed excessive and disproportionate – and challengeable by law.

If the Commissioner is thinking of extending Taser availability for his officers in the future then I would encourage him to consult the public he has been appointed to police before taking any further step.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions