A British police force has allowed non-firearms officers to carry and use Taser guns, it emerged today.
Previously, the Sussex Police force restricted the use of Tasers to authorised firearms officers only, however there’s been a steady increase in the number of forces around the UK that now allow non-firearms officers to use the weapons.
160 officers in Sussex will receive the guns and are only allowed to use them in situations where there is “a real threat of violence” – but looking at the police track record of Taser gun use, it’s apparent that some officers do not follow the rules.
In 2008, the UK legalised the use of Tasers on children, even if they are unarmed. According to the Home Office statistics, officers threatened children with Tasers on 144 occasions in 2010, firing the gun at a child in approximately 1 in 5 times.
When fired, Taser guns give victims an electric shock of up to 50,000 volts, potentially triggering heart conditions.
Amnesty International has previously called for the use of the guns to be restricted:
“Amnesty International recommends that the use of Tasers on children and vulnerable people should be avoided in all circumstances unless officers are faced with an immediate threat to life or serious injury which cannot be contained by less extreme options.”
The guns were introduced as non-lethal weapons, but there is a mountain of evidence to support claims that Tasers can kill.
Last year, a 27 year old man and father of two, Dale Burns, was Tasered four times in less than a minute – and died two hours later as a result.
Kevin Piskura, a college student died five days after a police officer Tasered him with an 11-second jolt to his chest.
In 2007 the UN called the use of the weapons as a form of torture:
“The use of these weapons causes acute pain, constituting a form of torture.
“In certain cases, they can even cause death, as has been shown by reliable studies and recent real-life events.”
In the U.S. around 80% of people who are Tasered between 2001 and early 2012 were unarmed. So far, Taser guns have claimed the lives of 500 people.