Tasers: Amnesty criticises PSNI's decison to introduce Tasers

Amnesty International has stated today that until the processes of an Equality Impact Assessment and compliance with human rights standards are satisfactorily completed, the organisation remains opposed to the introduction of the electro-shock weapons in Northern Ireland.

Amnesty International has criticised the Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde's decision to train PSNI officers in the use of Tasers from next week, despite not meeting human rights and equality standards as set down by the Northern Ireland Policing Board and the Equality Commission.

Fionna Smyth of Amnesty International's Northern Ireland office stated:

“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. Latest figures show that more than 270 people have died after being shot by a Taser in the US and Canada since 2001 – a recent example being that of a Polish man at Vancouver airport.”

“Amnesty is deeply disappointed that Sir Hugh Orde has chosen to press ahead with the introduction of electro-shock weapons in the face of opposition and advice from the Policing Board, the Equality Commission and the Human Rights Commission. 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. That is why it is so important for the PSNI to meet these human rights and equality standards before any decision to deploy the weapons.”

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