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back to article Met Police to pilot Tasers

The governing body of the Metropolitan Police yesterday gave approval for Tasers to be issued to non-firearms-trained police in a pilot scheme beginning next month. Similar trials are already underway with other UK police forces. "Members [of the Met Police Authority] raised legitimate concerns about broadening the use of Taser …

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Rejoice Tazers For All

Excellent, how long do you think until we can proudly display our own abuse of Tazers and a string of dead people who were asking for it by not putting a bottle of beer down the second they were asked, or arguing with a copper over a speeding ticket.......

Anything to make the general public more fearful of the poli... erm i mean safer hey!!!

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Stop

Brilliant Timing!

anyone want to place bets on the fist Met Police Taser murder?

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Thumb Down

How long will it be

... before the UK gets its first innocent taser victim murder ???

The story says NOTHING about the circumstances in which these offensive weapons can be discharged and how the users will have to log each and every occasion they are used to prove that there would have been either a death or a serious injury had the taser not been used.

We've seen so many reports elsewhere where tasers have been discharged indiscriminately and in at least some cases have been used as "punishment" or convenience rather than to prevent a death.

They need to be regulated at least as strongly as firearms to prevent the same happening in the UK as is happening elsewhere. Otherwise, people will know its not safe to walk the streets -- but it will be the police, not the criminals, that they mostly fear.

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Anonymous Coward

torture the innocent

This is actually a good thing.. the met can now just torture the innocent, rather then shooting them.

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Flame

Conspiracy to commit murder

So knowing that they're a lethal weapon, without even a single modification, they are going to run a trial with these weapons which potentially will result in deaths.

Knowing there are lethal problems with these supposedly 'non lethal' weapons makes them complicit in any death that occurs.

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I for one ...

welcome our taser wielding bzzzzzzzzzzzttttttttttt.......

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cor
Thumb Down

Are they completely bonkers?

Tasers are lethal weapons and should <..Bzzzzzzzz..zzzzit...zzzzzzziiiit> aaaaaaaaaarggggh F#@*.

(silence)

I mean, surely having seen the adverse effects when deployed elsewhere they realise that this is jus cra<..Bzzzzzzzz..zzzzit...zzzzzzziiiit> aaaaaaaaaarggggh F#@*.

But c'mon all I'm trying to say is that <..Bzzzzzzzz..zzzzit...zzzzzzziiiit><..Bzzzzzzzz..zzzzit...zzzzzzziiiit> <..Bzzzzzzzz..zzzzit...zzzzzzziiiit> aaaaaaaaaarggggh F#@********************%&#@.

* But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.*

George Orwell

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Stop

i only hope...

...that when the first poor bastard dies on British soil form one of the these things, that we actually _have_ a moral outrage/outcry unlike America where not enough people seem to give a shit.

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Coat

Surely this isn't safe?

After all, pilots have an important job and tasering them might compromise flight safety.

Hang on, I'll read that again shall I?

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Huzzah!

Another reason to leave this shit hole of an island.

Does anyone remember the big hoo-ha in the 90's when Korea were using electrified riot shields and battons. All our PM's saying how barbaric they were....

POT KETTLE

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Boffin

Tasers should have 3 extra features

1. A limit on the coulombs that are discharged within a minute. So multiple long discharges should be blocked since that seems to cause death (e.g. the last 2 Canadian deaths had that in common).

2. A clamp on the discharge if the resistance is unexpectedly low. If you break the skin and contact the salty bodily fluids then 1mA is enough to kill, whereas the Taser delivers 3mA. If the resistance is unexpectedly low then the current should be clamped to below 1mA. I also don't like the Taser that shoots darts since they are intended to break the skin. What if they break the skin near the heart?

3. A counter records the number of times they are discharged. A truncheon leaves evidence in the form of bruises, a Taser doesn't. There needs to be a record of their use so you can tell if an officer is using his Taser like a cattle prod. The counter should be recorded, no different than a record of gun discharges is kept.

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Anonymous Coward

Great stuff

Works so well in the US.

I have a hypothesis: the government are deliberately making the police more dangerous so that people will FINALLY stop asking for 'more bobbies on the beat.'

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Anonymous Coward

4th, they should record the discharge duration

Make that 4 features, the discharge duration per discharge and discharge time should also be recorded.

With several of the 8 deaths that have occurred recently, witnesses say they saw "multiple discharges" but officers deny it. There's no evidence trail to examine to see whose telling the truth.

BUT THE WEAPONS KNOWS HOW MANY TIMES, WHEN AND WHAT SIZE OF CHARGE IT DELIVERED!

So why doesn't the weapon keep a record for evidence purposes?

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Ash
Coat

@"Conspiracy to commit murder"

You obviously didn't get the latest "Govt. Guidelines for Discussion of TASER with the Press."

The phrase "non-lethal" is to be replaced with the phrase "less-lethal" at all times to avoid legal responsibility for any deaths caused by use, misuse, or inability to use.

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Thumb Up

So far so good!

The police in Torbay have been using Tazers for a short time now without any issues. Fingers crossed the rest of the country follows suit!

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Black Helicopters

re:Conspiracy to murder

All "non-lethal" weapons can bring about death, it just depends how you use them. The current bobbies have friction lock batons, CS spray, handcuffs and of course their empty hands. All have resulted in deaths at one time or another.

With the friction lock baton, all you need is a hard enough hit on the carotid and you can go down hard, resulting in concussion or death (has already happened)

CS spray can blind you, although not lethal, sends people running into traffic and down stairs, resulting in concussion and death (has also happened).

Handcuffs - applied incorrectly on the wrong people results in positional asphyxia (and yes, has happened many times). an open handcuff swung about usually carves the eyballs out of someones head. This too has unfortunately happened, but mostly to bobbies.

Empty hands - where to begin: sleeper holds, neck cranks, groin strikes, carotid and jugular strikes,etc,etc. All resulting in unfortunate and accidental death.

You can even kill someone with a pen by placing a good carotid or jugular strike, and yes countless examples of death by pen have occured too.

and yes again! Police carry pens too.... they're walking death machines with their panoply of war!

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Gates Horns

High Voltage stakes

Having seen first hand the abuse Police take at times from members of the public they need something that enables them to incapacitate violent people without injuring themselves in the process. I recently saw six officers wrestling a very violent man to the ground and they took a right beating in the process - despite the guy being of average size.

The Met has a terrible record for sickness absence (approaching 10% of front line policing time) much of which is attributed to injuries sustained in the line of duty. Tazers could potentially help bring this figure down

There's a youtube video of the Traffic Mullah of North Wales; Richard Brunstrom tazering himself - if it's good enough for him then it should be good enough for the public. It's just a shame he wasn't tazered a few more times for good measure.

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Flame

JCDM

This from a force, sorry "service" that capped a Brazilian lad 7 times at point blank range on a train because he looked, and I quote, “foreign”. Oh goody, just what London needs.

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Anonymous Coward

Taser wielding death squads

Sir Ian Blair can now add untrained taser wielding death squads to his arsenal of terror. We'll able able to look forward to many more deaths of people who look a bit foriegn, and subsequent health and safety trials where absolutely no one is at fault, and he can carry on lobbying for ever longer detention without trail on behalf of the government.

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Alert

Hmmm

You hear about people dying after banging their head on the pavement after falling over.

Assuming that the taser will probably make you fall over and not merely make your hair stand on end while frozen, could one assume that there could be more deaths due to the victim suffering head trauma.

Maybe the cops could kindly place a cushion near the poor bastard.

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Stop

Less-Lethal?

Less-Lethal than what?

These are being issued to NON Firearms trained officers, so does that mean they are less-lethal than Truncheons?

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Flame

Excellent news!

If you've got nothing to fear, don't run, and don't struggle, and you won't get tazered.

Simple.

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Tom

For God's sake...

It's a trial people. And it's a trial that the Met obviously didn't want. Our police are proud to be the ones that diffuse situations without weapons. The only reason the Met is part of the trial is that if they're not then they can't slag Tazers off after the trial.

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Silver badge

Why bother?

I can't see why they're bothering when someone out there is most likely planning on making electronic necklaces like those used in The Running Man, Wedlock, Battle Royale etc. etc. that can give you a disabling electric shock (or blow our heads off) if we do something wrong.

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First innocent Tazer victim

Already happened.

A diabetic bloke in Leeds was on a bus and went into a hypo coma. Despite the guy being slumped in his seat, unable to move, the police tazered him repeatedly before dumping him in the back of the police van in handcuffs. It was some time before some ploddy genius worked out that maybe there was something wrong. Still, as the guy says, it's still scary considering what could have happened - he could have been Menenzesised.

I've no argument with there being police qualified to use Tazers and firearms. But it looks like they need a damn sight better training and supervision when using them. And there needs to be comeback when they're used inappropriately.

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Coat

I spot a gap in the market here

Taser-proof shirts - don't need to be stab proof, just resistant enough to stop taser barbs.

I'll get my (kevlar reinforced, insulated) coat!

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Shocking, simply shocking

Yee-haaaa!

This is great! Where do i sign up?

What qualifications do i need to become a polis again?

I think they should issue them to those loser community policemen as well, then they could give you a choice if they catch you dropping a fag-end, £50 fine or a dose of 'leccy to the baws.

Quality.

Wasn't so long ago we frowned on Johnny Foreigners police forces when they used electric weapons/paddled/tortured suspects.

As one of the previous comments:

POT BLACK

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Stop

some class comments?

"If you've got nothing to fear, don't run, and don't struggle, and you won't get tazered."

tell that to Nicolas Gaubert, tasered 'cos the stupid cops didn't know the difference between an "egyptian" suicide bomber working himself to a frenzy and a diabetic man going into hypoglaecemic shock while sat in an empty bus station at night time.

"Our police are proud to be the ones that diffuse situations without weapons."

tell that to Jean Charles de Menezes; oh sorry you can't, he's dead thanks to those wonderful police who like to *diffuse* situations without weapon. And it's defuse, not diffuse; diffuse is what Ian Blair does with his lies.

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Flame

Idiots with weapons

We already have seen how useless the police are with weapons, we need less not more!

You have that idiot bunch who shot De Menezes

You have that absolute bunch of f*ckwits who tazered a guy in a Diabetic Coma on a bus because he "wasnt listening to our requests"

You have that nut job copper who decided to tazer a guy who he thought was loaded with plastic explosives.

I would rather have a bunch of 12 year old hoodies on crack running around with tazers than the Met police

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Unhappy

Re: i only hope

There wasn't any moral outrage about West Yorkshire Police Tasering a guy TWICE while he was unconsious in a Diabetic coma, so I can't see there being much more reaction to the first Fatality.

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Less lethal

> This from a force, sorry "service" that capped a Brazilian

> lad 7 times at point blank range on a train because he

> looked, and I quote, “foreign”. Oh goody, just what

> London needs.

You'd rather be "capped" than tased???

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Coat

Am I the only one to spot the important issue here ?

I mean....

Cindy Butts !

Beavis & Butthead would be proud.

There will be some Cindy Butts after this trial I'm sure.

They're onto something here. Public executions with the added bonus of incinerating the evidence. Just a bit more power needed.

Yes, yes heading for the exit now.

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Accountability is essential

Sidestepping the suitability, wisdom and morality of general taser use, here's some tech: Modern tasers can be capable of recording every use, in sound and video with a datalog of discharges. Starting with this trial, this should be absolutely mandatory.

There is no excuse and - considering the furore that claims both legit and spurious will generate - no sense in not recording everything. That way we can see what's being done, and the cop and (alleged) perp have some evidence other than he-said-she-said.

Taser-camera products are already on the market. Here's one: Taser-Cam: http://www.taser.com/products/law/Pages/TASERCAM.aspx

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Anonymous Coward

@Stuart Elliott

"...don't run, and don't struggle..."

Your list needs to be expanded to include the following:

Don't argue

Don't disagree

Don't try to discuss

Don't hesitate

Don't blink

Don't be impaired

Don't be diabetic

Don't be comatose

Don't be laying on the ground injured

Don't flinch

Don't be foreign

Don't fail to understand the English language

Don't be deaf

Don't be mentally challenged

Don't leave home

Every one of the above list has happened. Most of them many times.

There have been many Taserings, and more than several DEATH BY TASER, of what we would call 'innocent people'.

Canada is having a large number of DEATH BY TASER incidents recently. The CBC news organization has had to produce an interactive map of all the recent deaths.

TASER Inc. needs to be sued into the next Universe. The executives and engineers there should be charged with criminal manslaughter (in my opinion).

And I understand that their scuzzy scumbag lawyers are quite aggressive in the style of the music industry. Sue anyone that points out the bleedingly obvious.

So for this posting, I'll be a coward. I'd rather spend my money on hardware than defence lawyers. But I'm a regular here.

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Ste
Paris Hilton

Dont....

tazer me bro!

But where's the Paris Hilton angle?

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Thumb Down

Oh goody.

Oh goody. The Metropolitan Militia has another way to kill people. They're probably jealous because the Canadians have killed people with them and they wanna have a go now.

"The police in Torbay have been using Tazers for a short time now without any issues. Fingers crossed the rest of the country follows suit!" Uncross your fingers - they screwed up in Leeds.

"Trial". Yeah. Right. As if killing someone will stop it going ahead anyway.

"Less lethal". So they're admitting up front they're gonna kill someone - "Well, we did warn you it was not non-lethal".

Have any of the bookmakers opened a book on when the first death will happen. I reckon before the end of February '08.

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Flame

Astonishing...

... that there is not a single case, not one, where it can be shown that a death resulted directly from the use of Taser. The Canadian airport case mentioned has now resulted in the Taser Corporation issuing more than 50 "takedown" notices requiring the withdrawal of the hysterical and groundless claims, by people and organsiations who should know better (i.e. base their views on facts rather than speculation and hysteria), that the taser caused the death in the first place.

But hey, let's whip up the mob and burn a few witches for sport instead, eh...?

It's just a shame that so much public money will be wasted (and so much time wasted in clueless ranting in El Reg threads) when the Bedfordshire idiot (above) gets a couple of live rounds - "no choice but to arm myself"? Jeez... these are the sort of people who really need to be Tasered or shot, not the officers called to deal with them. And if any of the crazies who keep screaming "murder! execution!" think they can do better, they're welcome to try - I will watch their efforts from somewhere safe...

Fianlly, the real joke is that the MPA actually *can't* legally stop Taser being deployed. Those who remember the Chair of the Merseyside Police Authority (Margaret Simey) trying to stop the then Chief Constable, Sir Ken Oxford, from buying and making available CS agent and launchers for deployment in riots will remember that it went all the way to the Court of Appeal, where the Authority lost. The Court ruled that, in operational matters, even though the Authority had provided the money with which the Chief Constable was buying the weapons, they could not legally stop him, because he was a Crown servant (NOT a public servant) acting directly on his own original authority, and answerable only to the Courts if/when the weapons were actually deployed and used.

So, surprisingly, Ian Blair is actually pandering to the Authority's vanity in complying with their "veto" in the first place.

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Joke

odds?

"Have any of the bookmakers opened a book on when the first death will happen. I reckon before the end of February '08."

nah, they're trialling them next month, so we should have at least one death by Christmas, prob'ly in the shopping queues.

"Why did you taser Father Christmas to death, PC Dimbleby?"

"He's a proper villain, sir; didn't bring the nipper a Wii this year."

"oh that's alright then, here's your promotion anyway, *Sergeant* Dimblebly, now go out and tase some foreigners, there's a good chap, we can easily get away with that!"

meantime ol' St Nick is accused of coke use, *connections* with terrorists, ie he flew the sleigh over Afghanistan, wearing a bulky jacket and behaving in an agitated manner "He was shaking while he was ho-ho-ho-ing guv, honest!"

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cor

Not anonymous. Come and get me MFs.

From Amnesty International, reporting on USA taser-deaths:

"The new policies would reportedly continue to allow officers to use tasers against handcuffed suspects but would instruct officers to consider other methods of control before stunning children, pregnant women and the elderly. At the time of writing, plans were underway to expand the deployment of tasers in the Portland Police Department, by issuing one to every patrol officer."

o An 18-year-old was tasered when he told police responding to an under-age drinking party to "get the f…out of my house". He was tasered again when, after complying with an order to put his hands up, his hands started to drop.

o A driver pulled over on a bridge, angry that his car was being towed away for lack of insurance, was tased after repeatedly complaining and turning his head and body towards an officer.

o A woman who fell asleep in her parked car was tasered when officers woke her up when they opened her car door and, according to the police report, she glared at them and reached for her pocket. According to the WW review, police reports were inconsistent as to whether or not she was warned before the taser was used.

An investigation by a weekly journal, Willamette Week (WW), into taser use by the Portland Police Department, Oregon, published in February 2004, reported that, over a 19 month period, officers had deployed tasers in more than 400 cases, including on 25 people who were already in handcuffs.(46) The WW report, which was based on a review of police incident reports, stated that "numerous potentially lethal situations" had been averted using the taser, including suicidal individuals trying to force the police to kill them.(47) However, the WW also reported on incidents in which tasers were used against people who were not a serious threat but were merely verbally abusive or failed to comply with police commands. According to the newspaper, Oregon police had tasered people "after stopping them for non-violent offenses, such as littering and jaywalking, selling plastic flowers without a license, and failing to go away when told to". Police also used tasers on two 71-year-olds, one a woman who was blind in one eye, and the other a man who was trying to restrain a knife-wielding woman. The elderly man was shot with the taser after dropping onto his hands and knees instead of lying flat on the floor, as ordered by police.

The paper also reported on the case of 20-year-old Dontae Marks, a bystander who protested when police tried to arrest a friend for being drunk outside a night-club. Police reportedly pointed a taser at Marks’ chest when he refused an order to leave, then tasered him in the back as he walked away shouting an obscenity. Six officers then reportedly grappled with him in a struggle in which Marks was pepper-sprayed and touch-stunned at least ten times while lying face-down on the ground. He was reported to have sustained 13 taser burn marks across his back, neck, buttocks and the rear of his legs. He was later acquitted on charges of affray and has filed a lawsuit.

And so on and so on.

http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engamr511392004

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Coat

surprised it hasn't been said yet, but...

'Don't taze me, bro.'

Coat --> Door

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Anonymous Coward

Title

"The MPA has agreed to let the Met deploy Tasers in the hands of non-firearms police only on the third time of asking." Seems to be the way it goes these days. If the answer is a refusal, just keep asking until it isn't. Well it works for todays kids, and for the EU, why not everywhere else too ?

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Anonymous Coward

Bollocks...

Scuzbag lying Taser Inc PR Dept sock-puppet posted: "...not a single case, not one, where it can be shown that a death resulted directly from the use of Taser."

Taser Inc is presently SUING a CORONER to force her to CHANGE HER FINDINGS. Those findings were that the TASER was lethal in that case.

Read this: http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/read/10577

"...medical examiners have cited the Taser to some extent in 18 deaths. In four cases IT WAS A CAUSE OF DEATH, in 10 it was a contributing factor, and in four it could not be ruled out as a cause of death." and “tip of the iceberg”.

Taser Inc PR department probably invented the term "excited delirium". Any time you see "Excited Delirium" you KNOW that the TASER killed them outright. No question about it. "Excited Delirium" means TASER KILLED THEM.

Victims of Death By Taser Inc are dropping dead like flies in Canada recently. These are reasonably healthy people that are dying during, or shortly after, being Tasered-to-Death (TM).

It is a maxim of law that you take your victims as you find them. If you crack someone on the head and they have a thin skull and die, tough on you. It is still either murder or manslaughter. If someone is not able to withstand electrocution, tough on you. It's still murder, manslaughter, or unlawful death. Especially when it is now well past the point where it has become bleedingly obvious. Everyone knows, or should know, that Tasers are fully capable of killing people.

Taser Inc is guilty on so many counts that the executives should be locked up forever. Even their lawyers are recklessly endangering the public by dragging out the inevitable. If Taser Inc. had any morals they'd do an immediate recall.

Taser Inc makes the music industry look like Ghandi.

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Anonymous Coward

Electric justice...? trials?

ASBOS, instead of prosecutions.... Fines, instead of prosecutions.... Attrition of courts, lawyers, Legal Aid... The oversight Police Authorities can't control the police in "operational" matters... With tasers in the hands of the police, they can become judge, jury, and in some cases executioners.... No need then for the CPS, or the judiciary.

Pakistan last week. Britain very soon now.

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Anonymous Coward

I left that bloody island already

Although I do like to visit when I can.

It didn't help when the tube shooting finally crystallised my attitude to our police on the side of fear rather ran security. Surely that can't be such an easy transformation in a middle-class only-just-left-of-centre Brit?

I was equally disgusted by the "these things are going to happen in this day and age" response from the media on the day it happened. It was their job to tear the people responsible limb from metaphorical limb; to reduce their reputation as a law-enforcing agency to tatters, and they failed as utterly as the police failed to know who it was they, for no good reason whatsoever, shot.

I'm far more disgusted by the absolute lack of any disciplinary action or voluntary resignation on the part of those responsible (remember the word, Met Police?).

And now their are being given a new toy, and one that they won't, whatever anyone says, take anywhere near as seriously as a gun.

Next thing will probably be machines that automatically taze drivers of cars in bus lanes....

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Bronze badge
Unhappy

Untrained officers given tazers

Given that it's usually operator error that kills with a tazer this seems all manner of stupid.

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Perhaps the Met can do better ...

I asked my friend the retired Mountie if he'd seen the Vancouver tasering video. Yes, and he didn't think it was very good policing.

"You could tell as soon as they arrived: not a smile on anyone's face and they're charging in like they're a SWAT team. They're going to a Confrontation.

"In my day you'd go in to alone with the friendliest expression you could get on your face. You'd find out what's going on and you'd get angry right along with him. It isn't hard to get angry about being illegally confined for six hours.

"The shared anger creates a bond that lets you talk him down, calm him, then you buy him a coffee and figure out what to do with him.

"That did depend on being allowed some discretion, and sometimes you'd make a mistake. Nowadays it'd probably be illegal. These kids have everything classified for them and defined responses set; he did THIS so it's raised to THIS LEVEL of confrontation so you will use THESE responses."

Are the Peelers still allowed that magical thing, Discretion?

R.

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Anonymous Coward

It won't be so bad, will it?

What am I saying, yes it wil be just as bad as everywhere else. This is a conformity tool, it works two fold, if you don't do exactly as your told, you get tased. If you see someone getting tased for no good reason then you're more likely to just do as your told...

I hear the goverment isn't ruling out their use on children either.

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Black Helicopters

Fallacy of freedom.

Welcome to the world of litigious tyrants my friends. Better to cripple and maim than to utterly destroy a population. Victims of state sponsored brutality still are productive, after a fashion that is.

I find a sort of perverted humor in the fact that most Americans and the Brits, ignore the fact that we are all slaves to law, and therefore slaves to those who control it. Instead we continue to trash each others popular cultures and sh*tty leadership.

When will either side recognize that police state brutality and law induced economic hardship is common to both.

Law enforcement only exists to "Protect and Serve" the ideals, positions, and laws of the social elite above the common man. Sugar coating it in the lie of protecting us from ourselves. Self-defense is no longer a "natural right" within litigious societies. Our overlords in their infinite wisdom and delusions of grandeur, have redefined it as a liberty; which is something that can be removed at whim. A man (or woman for that matter) who cannot defend himself, is not a man, but a slave.

Tasers are just another step towards the unjustified use of force. When a weapon leaves no trace of use (A lot of stun weapons are starting to minimize the signs of use), expect wanton abuse. The harder it is to prove that you've been oppressed, the easier it will be for the government to deny any wrong doing.

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Pirate

Next they will

Give them to Community Wardens, who will be on the streets ready to Taser the none uptaking teenagers to coerce them into listening to DAB radio instead of illicit MP3s on their mobile phones.

It's not the Rise of the Machines that I worry about, more like the f*ckers who wield 'em.

Alf

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