The use of taser guns is an increasingly hot topic in the press. And rightly so. There is strong opposition to the use of these police weapons, as injuries and deaths are believed by some to have been caused as a result of their use.
The guns fire two darts into the body carrying an electric current. This causes involuntary muscle spasms, serving to incapacitate the target.
The fact that the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, Kevin Hurley, has called for wider use of these taser guns is, therefore, extremely worrying.
According to an article posted on the Get Surrey website, the Commissioner argues that tasers are the safest way to restrain a violent suspect.
According to the article, the Commissioner stated that: “I see Taser as probably the least physically injurious way of gaining compliance from a violent or threatening person….Despite all the hype, it’s a five-second low-ampage shock that makes them collapse to the floor and enables police officers to apply handcuffs in an unhurried and measured way.”
The tasers come with a price tag of £1,000 per weapon. Many may argue that this money would be better spent on further training for police officers to deal with difficult suspects through non-violent and less dangerous means.
Tasers are classified as a firearm. You may, therefore, feel that these weapons should be carried only by trained firearms officers and used as a weapon of last resort. Nevertheless, the use of tasers is widening across the country and many will feel that the Commissioner’s comments are likely to mean that more and more tasers will be used in the future.
Little seems to be known about the potential physical implications of being shot by a taser particularly in relation to the potential longer term effects on the individual.
Police officers are subject to strict rules about when they are permitted to fire a taser. If these rules are not adhered to, then the use of this weapon on an individual may amount to an unlawful assault and battery of that person.
By Civil Liberties Solicitor, Stuart Crook
Stephensons has a dedicated Civil Liberties Unit who may be able to advise and assist you with making a damages claim against the police if you feel that you have been subjected to unlawful use of force by a police officer. Call us now on 01616 966 229.