Met Police Join National Taser Pilot

Stun guns to be used by Territorial Support Group

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Policeman with taser gun

Policeman with Taser gun

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From Monday 10th December 2007 the Met Police will join the national pilot to trial the extension of taser to non-authorised firearms officers.

Taser is now available for use in ten forces by specially trained officers in non-firearms situations.  These situations involve violence or threats of violence of such severity that officers would need to use force to protect the public, the subject or themselves and their colleagues. 

The Met’s Territorial Support Group (TSG) is now carrying taser on its Commissioner’s Reserve.  This is a London wide response, which will see a maximum of an additional eighteen tasers on the Capital’s streets.

Commander Bob Broadhurst, in charge of the pilot in London, said, “Taser has been safely and effectively used in the Met since 2003.  Since then the landscape has changed and police are now dealing with more incidents of violence that fall below the threshold of an armed response.

“This pilot is about looking at how we can best use taser away from traditional firearms scenarios, but deal with those violent situations.  It’s about making sure that our officers are best equipped in their duty to protect the public.  Taser creates space between the subject and police, and reduces the need for physical contact reducing the risk of unintended or unnecessary injuries to all parties. 

“In London we have selected the TSG to take part in the pilot because they are highly trained; work in teams; are often the first responders to violent situations and are closely supervised, ensuring immediate control at incidents. 

Cindy Butts, Deputy Chair of the MPA, said:"While the concerns the Metropolitan Police Authority has about the extended use of Taser on London's streets have not gone away, MPA members came to the conclusion that we needed to move forward. The national pilot is already underway in other constabularies, and we decided that the Met should take part to enable this Authority to influence the final decision about the future use of the Taser across the country.

"Disproportionality of those the Taser is used against, the vulnerability of certain groups who may experience the threat of Taser use, and the extent of officer training remain of concern. That is why I will be chairing an MPA working group to monitor and evaluate the trial rigorously, and so ensure that experiences in London influence national policy for the good."

Police officers may use a proportionate level of force based on the circumstances they are faced with.   The use of a taser is governed by existing rules regarding the use of force by police officers - from laying hands on someone to arrest them through to a strike with a baton.  This is section 3 of the Criminal Law Act and Common law. 

Commander Broadhurst, added, “We are currently rolling out a series of presentations across the Met to inform Londoners that the pilot is going ahead and how we will be using taser differently. 

“The pilot will be subject to extensive monitoring and scrutiny, here in London by the Metropolitan Police Authority and nationally by the Home Office and Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).  Any time that a taser is discharged the circumstances will be looked at for monitoring purposes and for transparency.  There is a robust system of accountability including unique identification on each discharge; downloads from the taser itself and mandatory reporting of public complaints.”

December 11, 2007