August 26th, 2010

Shocking Behaviour

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Police in Nottingham dropped a bit of a bollock this month when an officer accidentally tasered a 14-year-old girl who was standing a few feet away from a man who had just assaulted an officer & was trying to evade arrest.

Police were called to the Stapleford area of Nottingham to reports of males riding mopeds up & down the road.

When officers approached, one of the males became aggressive. A struggle ensued during which an officer was assaulted. The officer discharged his Taser but it missed & hit the girl who was standing behind the offender.

The male was subsequently arrested.

The girl was taken home & examined by a doctor who found she had not suffered any ill effects. Police have apologised to the girl.

To cut to the chase then, is this sufficient reason to deny police the use of Taser? Doubtless certain groups individuals will be using this as yet another example why police should not be trusted with yet another weapon in their arsenal.

Life is a series of risks, police work is no different. I’ve never believed that something should be banned just because the risk of misuse means someone might get hurt or even killed. I think it’s more a question of balancing the potential outcomes & trying to minimise the risks.

If risking the deaths of a certain amount of people to save the lives of many more people is an option open to you then I’d take the risk. But lets be clear, talking about Taser is not talking about life & death, despite what the anti campaigners might say.

Is it worth the risk of Tasering the occasional innocent person in order to protect people who might otherwise be at a far more serious risk? Unquestionably yes, apologise, make reparations, amend training accordingly but don’t ban it because of some errors.

No matter how good the training & equipment, we will always make cock-ups. It’s a question of whether those cock-ups outweigh the good the equipment provides.

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