Tube, Trains and Tasers
So now it’s the turn of British Transport Police to be given Tasers. Deploying electro-shock stun guns to the BTP’s response units is the latest move in the ever-increasing roll-out across British police, and has added to Amnesty’s fears that these weapons will soon become a regular trademark of British policing.
The evidence from the United States clearly shows that these weapons are dangerous and open to abuse and misuse – such as Tasering a 10-year-old for refusing to get into the bath!
We’ve always insisted that only a limited number of officers who undergo intensive training – to the same level as specialist firearms officers – should be issued with these weapons.
Amnesty is not the only organisation to have voiced these concerns. Just yesterday the Council of Europe’s anti-torture committee published its report on the UK. In its view, the loose wording of guidance on how Tasers should be used leaves the door open to the misuse of Tasers where it wouldn’t be proportionate.
We would most certainly agree.
A couple of weeks ago, British police were criticised for its apparent shift in policing culture. The Chief Inspector of Constabulary described the force as having lost its way.
Amnesty has often said that the widespread deployment of Tasers may be a pretty large nail in the coffin of Britain’s culture of policing by consent.
The Home Office needs to thoroughly review and examine its policy on the use of the weapons as we really don’t want to see Britain hurtling ever further down the slippery slope towards arming all police officers with Tasers.
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.