The use of Taser devices by police is back in the news, after video footage of an incident involving a man with knives in Battersea, London was uploaded to YouTube . Taser has always been a controversial subject in the UK. Maybe it’s primarily seen as the end to the default non-armed position of the everyday British police officer or maybe it’s something else ….
What is known is that Taser devices are a highly effective method of dealing with violent and dangerous situations, reducing the risk of harm and injury to police officers and members of the general public.
On a basic level, the ‘pro’ side will say a Taser can be used without needing to get ‘up and close’ with the subject as would be needed with a baton, immediately creating a ‘safe working space’ and greatly reducing risk to the officers dealing. The effects of Taser use are gone in a few seconds unlike 15-20 mins for CS/Pava/Pepper Spray, plus there is no risk of collateral effect on officers dealing as there would be with a spray – (having been there on many occasions where the officers dealing have been far more affected by CS/Pava/Pepper spray than the subject, I can tell you it’s not a nice place to be !!)
This clip demonstrates precisely how effective correct use of Taser can be in dealing with a dangerous situation. In it, a male brandishing two knives appears to be threatening to harm himself, not others, but clearly, outside Buckingham Palace, with hundreds of tourists, adults and children within a few metres, just about anything could have happened
But Taser is not without it’s critics, and there are many would will say that they are dangerous and shouldn’t be used at all. The are also numerous reports to suggest that deaths have occurred following the use of Taser although looking at the online reports and news articles I have found, none of them can directly link a death to a Taser discharge. There is quite a lot of info here > Wikipedia – Taser Safety Issues
At present, Taser devices in the UK are only issued to Firearms and a limited number of other police officers, primarily those in ‘specialist’ roles. Many officers, and members of the public, believe that ALL police officers should be issued with Taser, and then again, many believe no police officer should have one.
But what do you think ? Please take the survey below and let your opinion be known. There are two survey options, one for police officers and one for members of the public. The questions are the same, I am just trying to establish if there is a difference in opinion from inside and outside ‘the job’.
POLICE OFFICERS – please answer this survey
MEMBERS OF PUBLIC – please answer this survey
Please do not expect any startling changes in national police policy to arise from this poll – it’s just a snapshot of what people think :)
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