Amnesty International 'Dismayed' over moves to arm more Strathclyde police with Tasers

Responding to news that Strathclyde Police officials will meet on Thursday 4 February to discuss the supply of Taser weapons to more police officers, Amnesty International said that it was "dismayed" at the prospect of increased numbers of these dangerous weapons on Scottish streets.

Scottish Programme Director for Amnesty International, John Watson, said:

"Amnesty recognises the very difficult job police officers have to do. We don't oppose the use of Tasers, but they must only be used by a limited number of highly-trained specialist officers, who are responding to genuinely life-threatening or very dangerous situations.

“As well as being excruciatingly painful, Tasers are potentially lethal weapons which have already been linked to numerous deaths in north America and that's why wide deployment without adequate training is a dangerous step too far for Scottish policing.

“We believe that Strathclyde Police should urgently review their position and ensure that Tasers remain in the hands of a small number of fully-trained officers capable of making what could be a life-or-death decision. It is not just a matter of how to use a Taser, but when."

John Watson continued:

'It's fair to say that our police set the standard when it comes to policing around the world. Our forces have always prided themselves on 'policing by consent' rather than 'compliance by pain'.

“But introducing Tasers into the day-to-day engagement with the public risks is creating a seismic shift in our policing culture Widespread and routine deployments have led to numerous cases of abuse in countries like Canada and the United States.

“We have not seen any cases of abuse in Scotland - suggesting that our system of restricting Taser use to specially-trained officers works. And if it works, why change it?"

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