Newly released Home Office figures have revealed that Taser use by the Police in the south of England doubled between 2012 and 2013. The devices were drawn 998 times as opposed to 433 times in 2012 and were actually discharged 192 times in 2013 compared to 155 times in 2012.
Sussex Police were shown to have had the highest comparative increase with a 447% rise compared to the national average rise of 27%.
The Police have responded to the figures by suggesting that the increase is due to the devices being rolled out to more officers rather than a broadening of the situations in which they are used.
Amnesty International has called for more clarity on the circumstances in which Tasers should be used in light of the figures. Oliver Sprague, speaking on behalf of the organisation, stated "[Tasers were introduced] to deal with incidents of life-threatening, or very serious violence from a safer distance, and the figures make it impossible to tell if Police in the region are using the weapon only in these circumstances...Amnesty's fear is that wider deployment could lead to Tasers being misused for far more minor incidents.”
Taser use by the police is controversial given the potential for serious and even fatal injury. Police officers are subject to strict rules about when they are permitted to fire a Taser. If these rules are not followed, then the use of this weapon on an individual may amount to an unlawful assault and battery of that person.
If you would like to speak to a member of our team in relation to the use of a Taser call us on 01616 966 229.