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Taser figures: five-year quadrupling and lack of information on police use add to concerns

Police Tasers are coming out of their holsters thousands of times per year © Oleg Volk
‘Taser use has actually quadrupled in the past five years’ - Oliver Sprague
Responding to new Home Office figures on the use of Tasers by police forces in England and Wales in the past six months, Amnesty International UK’s Arms Control Director Oliver Sprague said:
“As usual, what these figures don’t tell you is when and why police officers have drawn these highly dangerous electro-shock weapons more than 10,000 times in the past 12 months.
“We’re not against Tasers if used by specially-trained police officers trying to prevent a death or a serious injury, but we simply don’t know the circumstances in which people are being fired at with these potentially lethal weapons delivering 50,000 volts of electricity.
“It’s especially worrying that some police forces appear to be using these weapons far more readily than others, with West Midlands Police firing Tasers 120 times in the past six months alone - more even than the Met Police.
“It’s also a real concern that some police officers - those from Greater Manchester Police for example - are using the Tasers in the controversial ‘drive-stun' mode where the weapon is used like an electric cattle prod, causing extreme pain.
“While the police always insist that their officers are using Tasers responsibly and on a relatively small number of occasions, the Home Office figures show that Taser use has actually quadrupled in the past five years.”

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