Monday, 3 September 2007

Stunningly Bad Decision

Until now British police have been armed with a truncheon, handcuffs and a pointy helmet with the idea of arming our officers being mooted but dismissed as a step too far. As a halfway option, some police forces have been trialing the Taser stun gun.
The trials complete, the Association of Chief Police Officers will now make Tasers "readily available" for "conflict management" at incidents of "violence and threats of violence of such severity that they will need force".
Until now, Tasers, which emit a 50,000-volt electric shock, have been used only by specialist officers as a "non lethal" alternative to firearms. However, they can now be used against all potentially violent offenders even if they are unarmed.
Chillingly, the decision not to ban their use against minors and tests whether the weapons could cause a miscarriage if used on a pregnant woman, is raising serious concerns.
Those of us who are old hands at protests have seen the baton charge by the riot squad, have heard the sickening thud of baton against skull or kneecap and wonder just what lays in store for future demonstrators.
It is not the idea of stun guns i am against, i really cannot say with my hand on my heart, that i trust the people wielding them. Indiscriminately thrashing your baton around is bad enough, blindly firing 50,000 volts into a crowd of protesters is another thing entirely. As is shooting children with what has proved to be a lethal dose of electricity.
CBS NEWS states Tasers killed 10 adults in America last month alone and now the Home Office says it’s ok to use them on kids?
Should i even be typing that last sentence outside of some future dystopian novel?


Anonymous said...

A couple weeks ago I heard testimony from an officer who has a new taser and couldn't wait for an opportunity to use it, He was terribly disappointed when he hit a car instead of the guy he was chasing through a parking lot.

Falling on a bruise said...

As i said, i cannot honestly trust the people these weapons are enpowered to, to use them correctly and safely. This only deepens my reservations.

Cheezy said...

I don't have direct experience here, so I'm in the realms of speculation... but I suspect I'd rather be 'tasered' rather than shot with a bullet or sprayed with CS gas...

But then, I don't have a heart condition or take too many drugs - both of which are considered to increase the risk of dying after you've been tasered. (Oh, and I'd probably stop struggling after I'd been tasered for the first time).

Anyway, something seems rotten in the state of Denmark regarding these things, that's if the statistics in that CBS report are to be believed. Ten 'death by taser' in the US just last month? Something is seriously wrong either with the weapon itself or with the way it's being used (firing it nine times???), and until these questions are resolved, I share your concern at the thought of it being used in the UK).

Anonymous said...

Did you read a post I recently did called 'rights eroding' Lucy?
Your post on tasers correlates nicely to what I was saying about us going down the track of a heavily controlled/ legally enforced society. I thought Farenheight 451 was a sci-fi novel,turns out it was an accurate future prediction.

Great post

Daniel said...

Hey Lucy, as the totalitarian influence increases so will the violence. We ain't seen nothing yet.

P.S. Check out the World Utopian Movement which I'm trying to get up and running. You might want to join but no obligation!


Stephen K said...

The misuse of tasers I have definitely found disturbing, as well as the deaths.

However, here's another perspective, not to say that I necessarily support tasers, but it does give me pause.

A couple of weeks ago in Vancouver, there was a police shooting of a man with a mental illness that, by witness accounts, was completely unnecessary. He was a threat to anyone who approached him, but was shot and killed at a distance. The thinking is that the best way to apprehend him might have been to use a taser.

The Little Cheese said...

Eeek, the thought of each member of the Met police being handed these tasers makes me shiver (or shudder).

It seems that the police service are going back to basics and returning to being the Force.