Amnesty reacts with dismay to the deployment of tasers
Amnesty International has reacted with dismay to the news that the PSNI are planning to introduce Tasers to Northern Ireland early next year. The organisation has condemned the Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde's decision to introduce the electro-shock weapons despite not meeting human rights and equality standards as set down by the Northern Ireland Policing Board and the Equality Commission.
Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director stated:
“We are deeply disappointed that Sir Hugh Orde has chosen to ignore the human rights and equality advice available to him. Tasers potentially pose a disproportionate risk to many of our most vulnerable citizens, the pregnant, those with mental health or drug problems and those with heart complaints; all conditions which may not be visible to an officer firing a Taser.”
“These concerns have already led a number of American law enforcement agencies to rule against using the devices. Let's be clear; people are at serious risk of injury, or in some cases death if the Taser is used without adequate safeguards.”
Amnesty International has studied the use of Tasers in the US and Canada, where more than 270 people have died since 2001 after being 'Tasered'. In a significant number of cases coroners have stated that the Taser played a role in the death and in some cases stated that it was the primary cause of death
Tasers are powerful electrical weapons used by over 7,000 law enforcement agencies in the USA and by police forces across Britain, with more than 3,000 of the devices distributed to special firearms officers since their introduction in 2003.
They temporarily disable a suspect by delivering a 50,000-volt shock, incapacitating the individual and causing them to fall to the ground.