Police use of Tasers
Record numbers of police officers are carrying Tasers despite controversy over their use. Public concern over their use is rising, particularly since the death of Dalian Atkinson, thought to have been the 11th person to die after being shot with a Taser since 2011.
The National Police Chiefs' Council has stated that the terrorist threat in the UK did not justify "a roll out of Tasers to all officers who volunteer". However, it has been reported that the deployment of Tasers has increased by 55% in the past five years.
Although the Taser has been classified as an "officer safety tool" similar to handcuffs or batons, it is in fact a firearm under the Firearms Act 1968. As demonstrated by the death of Dalian Atkinson, Tasers have the potential to kill people. There is no way of telling how a person will react to being shot by a Taser, particularly if they have any form of medical conditions such as pre-existing heart problems. This means that even a single shot from a Taser used in line with police training can lead to someone's death. The risk is higher when police fail to follow their training or when the guidance simply isn't up to scratch, such as in the case of Andrew Pimlott who died after being Tasered by the police, having doused himself in petrol while holding a match in his parents' garden.
Police officers are entitled to use reasonable force where necessary to carry out their powers or in self-defence. However, there are concerns that officers resort to Tasers and other weapons such as CS spray too readily, instead of using lesser force or simply de-escalating the situation through talking and diplomacy. The greater the stretch on police resources and services for people with mental health problems, the more tempting it will be for officers to subdue someone by Tasering them.
Actions Against the Police Solicitors, London
At Saunders Law, we offer expert legal assistance with regards to all types of Actions Against the Police claims. Ceri Lloyd-Hughes, a solicitor within our team, is currently representing a gentleman who was Tasered twice while lying on the ground suffering from a mental health crisis. Ruth Mellor represents a gentleman who was sprayed with tear gas during an arrest despite the fact he did not resist his arrest nor did he behave violently in any way towards the police. Both men did not show any violence towards the officers present nor were they resisting arrest. If you have been mistreated by the police, whether by use of unnecessary force or otherwise, you should seek legal advice immediately.
For a free, no-obligation, initial discussion of how we may be able to help, please contact us today.