Guardian Self Defense and Security Blog

Police Defend Rise in Taser Use

"Police (in the UK) have defended their increasing use of the 50,000-volt Taser stun gun. The device, which fires two tiny darts connected by a wire, delivers a disabling electrical charge to the body. The Taser was deployed by officers 123 times in the county in 2011 It was designed for use in situations in which officers would previously have used conventional firearms. A national report by the Home Office yesterday gave details of each police force's use of the weapon in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The rest of the story is HERE. In 2009, according to the report, Taser was deployed on 79 occasions in 2009, rising to 103 the following year and 123 in 2011. However, it was only fired in a minority of cases – six times in 2009, seven in 2010 and on 25 occasions in 2011. In most cases, the force said, targets gave themselves up when they saw officers carrying the weapons, heard the crackle of its electrical charge or noticed the red sighting dot on their bodies. Leicestershire's Assistant Chief Constable Phil Kay said: "Taser offers police a less lethal option to resolve situations, which include threats of violence from an individual towards the public, themselves and the police. "Leicestershire Police only use Taser in situations where necessary. "In the majority of cases, involving Taser, the mere presence of it has been enough to deter the assailant." Leicestershire has 110 officers trained to use Taser. Mr Kay said: "They have all undergone rigorous training to ensure they are qualified to use Taser." The group's director, Kate Allen, said: "Our police officers have a difficult job to do protecting the public and themselves, but Amnesty International does not want to see them go on the streets holding a potentially lethal weapon without adequate training."
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