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Taser roll out by Metropolitan Police undermined by new report, says Amnesty

Responding to today's publication of the London Assembly's Police and Crime Committee's report Arming the Met, Amnesty International UK’s Arms Programme Director, Oliver Sprague, said:

"The report undermines the Metropolitan Police’s roll out of Tasers. They justified it on an increase of violent attacks, yet this new report shows the trend at the time was downwards. Worryingly, the report also found the force failed to consult the public and key stakeholders adequately before starting the roll out.

“A Taser is a 50,000-volt weapon. This is not a little tingle. The consequences of mis-use could be disastrous. People have died after being hit by a Taser.

“The Committee found evidence that Tasers were being used where they shouldn’t be. The advice is clear – a Taser should only be used in limited circumstances where there is an imminent threat of loss of life or very serious injury, not in lower-level offences.

"To ensure Tasers are used at the right time, Amnesty has repeatedly called for the highest level of training and the report agrees. To be able to handle a potentially-lethal weapon, police officers need to receive the same level of training as firearms officers. That means months of vigorous and ongoing training not the three days they get now.

“Continual evaluation and testing of an officer’s ability to use a dangerous weapon, like a Taser, is the best way to ensure that it is used responsibly and safely, and only in the right circumstances.

“The report also found a need to radically improve how data is collected. The public need to know when and why a Taser was used and to have regular quarterly reports.

“The whole system needs a massive overhaul if the public are going to have any confidence in the police’s use of Tasers.”

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