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Taser guns used to restrain the mentally ill

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It has come to light that it is not uncommon for police to use taser guns to restrain mentally ill patients.

According to an article posted on the This is Leicestershire website, a response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 show that Leicestershire Police have used tasers on mentally ill patients on thirteen occasions in the past three years; twice on mental health wards and eleven times while taking patients for treatment.

Tasers are extremely controversial police weapons and should only be used as a last resort. However, it seems that the use of these weapons is increasing. A taser gun fires two darts into the body carrying an electric current. This causes involuntary muscle spasms, serving to incapacitate the target.

Extreme distress can be caused by the use of a taser. It seems likely that patients suffering from mental health difficulties are already in a very vulnerable position and likely to suffer even further distress when confronted by a police officer armed with a taser. That is not to mention the physical effects on the body of being shot by such a weapon.

The article makes reference to views expressed by the national mental health charity, MIND, that a better understanding of mental health problems would allow police to recognise those experiencing a crisis and defuse a situation before resorting to weapons such as Tasers.

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