Tasers: what the lawyers told the Chief Constable
I previously reported how PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde had decided to ignore the advice of the Equality Commission to conduct a proper equality impact assessment before deploying Tasers in Northern Ireland.
This followed his decision to ignore the NI Policing Board and their human rights advisors, Keir Starmer QC and Jane Gordon, who had clearly outlined a number of human rights tests which the PSNI ought to meet in order to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights.
In order to add to the paper trail, I am now happy to publish a very interesting letter from the good lawyers to the Chief Constable, which they sent him in advance of publishing their advice in June, but after they had given the PSNI that advice.
Alarmed that the Chief Constable was going to go ahead with the introduction of Tasers regardless, Starmer and Gordon fired off a fax to Sir Hugh, just to make sure their advice and its implications couldn't be confused.
Seven months on, after a few false starts, the Chief Constable presses on, determined that the PSNI should join the electro-shock weaponry club, of which all the other British police forces are now members.
His latest announcement, that the devices could be on the streets within weeks, caused a further grimace from the Policing Board, but no sign yet that they are prepared to take decisive action to halt deployment, despite their publicly stated belief (based on Starmer and Gordon's advice) that the Chief Constable still has not met crucial human rights tests.
Looks like the final score for Northern Ireland could be:
Sir Hugh – 1- Accountable Policing – 0
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