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Tasers under fire again - this time in Swansea

The Sun carries a story today about police in Swansea being caught on camera using a Taser electro-shock weapon on a man who appears to already be on the ground. Another officer who’s restraining him then appears to punch the man repeatedly in the head.

It reminded me of the footage last year showing similar scenes in Nottingham. In that instance the Independent Police Complaints Commission ruled that the officers had responded proportionately.

Tasers shouldn’t be used lightly. They cause excruciating pain, and hundreds of people have died in the US, where they are widely used, after being shot with them.

They were adopted by the UK police as a less lethal alternative to firearms – and there’s nothing wrong with that, if it’s done in the right way. But take a look at the videos from Nottingham and Swansea. Is either of the men being Tasered posing a serious threat to anyone’s safety? Would the police have considered shooting them with a firearm instead?  It’s hard to believe.

These dangerous weapons must be used with caution, by a limited number of officers trained to the highest standards, and only in the rare instances where a person is demonstrating a genuine threat to life or causing very serious injury to themselves or others.

We’ve only got a snippet of footage so I won’t judge whether that was the case in Swansea, but you’ll probably come to your own conclusion.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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