Police taser children aged 10 and retiree 87, amid surge in officers firing devices

Police taser children aged 10 and retiree 87, amid surge in officers firing devices

Children as young as 10 and an 87-year-old retiree have been tasered by police amid a sharp increase in the number of officers firing the devices over the past three years.

A Sky News investigation has revealed details of incidents in which officers fired 50,000-volt stun guns at minors and the elderly between 2018 and June this year.

The results come amid calls in the UK to ban the use of Tasers on people under 18.

Police chiefs have defended the use of guns on young people, saying they commit “a lot of violent crimes.”

It comes after PC Benjamin Monk was convicted of manslaughter of 48-year-old former footballer Dalian Atkinson died after being tasered for more than six times longer than normal cycle.

Dalian Atkinson died after suffering a Taser six times longer than usual

Following Sky News access to information requests:

Police du Gloucestershire said a 10-year-old boy was given a tasers after he approached police with a large knife and refused to drop the gun following an incident in which he threatened to injure someone.

Bedfordshire Police Taser a 12-year-old who showed “active resistance” following an arrest and search after being suspected of carrying a weapon.

Hertfordshire Police said an 87-year-old man suffered a Taser after an officer was threatened with a gun.

Devon and Cornish Police Taser a 15-year-old who was making “violent threats against an officer” and threw a bottle at him, which he narrowly missed.

Police de Humberside said an 83-year-old man was Tasered after barricading himself in a kitchen armed with weapons, including a knife and a large metal instrument, and throwing objects at officers.

West Yorkshire Police Taser a 79-year-old man with a knife after he injured himself and threatened to kill himself.

Police chiefs defended shooting Tasers at young people, claiming they were committing “a lot of violent crime”

The same force also used the Taser on a 14-year-old boy after a masked gang broke into a property and he turned violent when he was found inside.

Police du Wiltshire Taser a 60-year-old man with martial arts skills who kicked and punched police officers, resulting in a puncture of a policeman’s lung.

The same force also tasered a 15-year-old who assaulted a rescue worker on duty by hitting him in the face and pushing him.

South Yorkshire Police, who used the Taser on people aged 17 to 71, said the device was used on a person armed with a knife who “was showing aggression towards NHS staff”.

the metropolitan police already revealed it taser a 10 year old girl in January, following reports that she was threatening a woman with garden scissors and a hammer.

However, the force refused to reveal the ages of the youngest and oldest people it had tasered, arguing it “could identify individuals.”

In April, Scotland Yard posted footage of Anthony Browne, 63, being tasered after attacking a policeman with a four-foot-long sword, cutting off the officer’s finger. Browne was then jailed for over seven years.

West Mercia Police, who employed PC Monk when he killed ex-Aston star Villa Atkinson, said he tasered a 63-year-old man because of a “welfare concern”.

Benjamin Monk was found guilty of the manslaughter of ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson

Police have also revealed that they have dogged 24 dogs since 2018, including Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Rottweiler, American Bulldog, Husky, German Shepherd-type breed and Pitbull-type.

The actual number is likely much higher, as only just over half of the forces provided complete information on their use of Tasers.

Sophie Khan, a lawyer specializing in cases involving Taser-related injuries, said the use of guns on children and the elderly was “disturbing”.

She told Sky News: “The use of less lethal weapons is a last resort and should not be used on children and the elderly, who by nature are vulnerable.

“Police forces need to recognize that Tasers are not the answer to every police interaction. “

The number of incidents in which police officers used Tasers in England and Wales increased by almost a quarter last year.

Home Office data shows that there were 3,300 incidents recorded in 2019/20, an increase of 22% over the previous year (2,700 incidents) and 65% more than in 2017 / 18 (2,000 incidents).

File photo dated 09/12/16 of a Taser police problem.  Tasers are more human than "clubbing someone to submit" with the help of a stick, said the head of the Scottish Police Federation.
Unicef ​​has called on the UK government to ban the use of Tasers for people under 18

Unicef ​​has called on the UK government to ban the use of Tasers on children under 18, saying it is “concerned” that guns are increasingly used by police on young people. .

The charity says the continued use of Tasers on children under the age of 18 violates international standards for children’s rights.

In response, the Police Federation of England and Wales said officers had to “do police in the real world” and “the harsh reality is that some” children “are dangerous individuals”.

Louise King, director of the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE), told Sky News that the Tasers “inflict intolerable pain” and the government’s own advisers have warned that young people are at greater risk of injury from them. devices.

“Even when they’re not fired, the kids have told us how scary it is to even be threatened with a Taser,” she said.

“It is therefore extremely worrying that the use of tasers on children is increasing, including very young children. “

Ms King said CRAE wants the use of Tasers on children “to be eliminated” and believes officers should focus on “de-escalating and using effective communication skills” rather than pulling devices on. young people.

“Police say the Tasers can help them protect the public and the police, but this should not come at the expense of child safety and human rights,” she added.

Police reveal ages of those who have been tasered since 2016
The Children’s Rights Alliance for England says the Tasers ‘inflict intolerable pain’

Following PC Monk’s conviction for the manslaughter of Atkinson, Amnesty International UK has warned that there has been “enormous mission drift with the use of Taser in this country”.

Oliver Feeley-Sprague, the organization’s police expert, said the devices were “potentially lethal weapons” linked to a “growing number” of deaths in Britain.

“We urgently need a full review of the police use of these dangerous devices and confirmation that the Tasers will remain specialized weapons, limited to use in specific, truly dangerous situations,” he said. -he adds.

The National Council of Chiefs of Police (NPCC) has said there is “no upper or lower limit on the age” of a person who can be tasered, but officers are learning children can be tasered. an increased risk of cardiac arrhythmia – or abnormal heart rhythm.

“A child is classified as a person under 18, but many violent crimes are committed by people who meet the criteria of being under 18,” he said.

Police Chief Lucy D’Orsi, NPCC Head of Less Lethal Weapons, told Sky News: “The mere presence of a Taser is sufficient to complete 86% of violent or potentially violent incidents without it. it is necessary to pull the device.

“Each time an officer fires the device, he will have to justify his decision.

“Accountability for the use of the Taser is important to the Police Chiefs who have made a commitment that every officer who patrols with a Taser is equipped with a body-worn video. ”


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