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NI: Human rights campaigners tell PSNI - 'Don't repeat U.S. police mistakes'

Human rights campaigners warn the PSNI not to make the same mistakes as police in the USA by introducing 50,000 volt electro-shock tasers.

Dalia Hashad of Amnesty International USA and Mark Schlosberg of the American Civil Liberties Union speak in Belfast at an Amnesty International seminar on tasers. The event will be attended by senior PSNI officers, Policing Board representatives, the Police Ombudsman, the Oversight Commissioner, the NI Human Rights Commission, political representatives, community groups and charities from across Northern Ireland.

Dalia Hashad of Amnesty International’s Washington DC office will tell the meeting that, since 2001, over 200 people have died in the US after being shot with tasers.

Before the meeting she said:

“The US experience is that the taser can be a lethal weapon. Sadly, many American families have discovered that in the hardest possible way. So we understand why many people in Northern Ireland are concerned at their possible introduction here.

“If the PSNI were to ask our advice based on the US experience, the response would be simple: don’t.”

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International's Northern Ireland Programme Director said:

“Life and death questions remain about taser safety. Amnesty International believes there must be further independent research into the safety of tasers before any decision can be taken about possible deployment by the PSNI.

“Until such research is produced, the Chief Constable should reconsider his proposal and the Policing Board should reject his request for support.”

Last week Amnesty International launched a a new taser action website for people in Northern Ireland to lobby against the introduction of the electro-shock weapons. Find out more.

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