UK: 25% increase in police use of tasers against children

25% increase in police use of tasers against children
Follow us: | | Tweet

The number of times police officers used taser electroshock weapons against children increased by 25% across the UK in 2016 compared to 2015, with 597 deployments as compared to 476 in the previous year. Police are being equipped with an increasing number of more powerful tasers following recent approvals by the Home Office and ongoing police policy towards deployment of the weapons.

Use of tasers against children in Lincolnshire has risen by HALF in a year (Lincolnshire Live, link):

"The use of tasers against children in Lincolnshire has risen by half in the space of a year.

There were 597 incidences of tasers being used against children across the UK in 2016, according to figures released by police under the Freedom of Information Act.

There were nine incidents where tasers were used against children in Lincolnshire in 2016, up from six in 2015 but down from 11 in 2014.

The youngest person police used a taser against in 2016 was a 15-year-old, where the taser was drawn. Police also fired a taser at a 17-year-old in 2016.

This was a rise of 25 percent from 476 uses in 2015. Taser usage on under 18s averaged around 500 uses per year between 2013 and 2015, after rising steadily since the tasers were introduced in 2003."

On the deployment of tasers against children in 2016, see:UK: The Police Have Used Tasers on Children Hundreds of Times (Statewatch News Online, April 2016)

In March the Home Office authorised deployment of the more powerful X2 variant of the weapon: Amber Rudd authorises more powerful Tasers for police(The Guardian, link):

"The home secretary, Amber Rudd, has authorised a more powerful Taser stun gun to be issued to police officers in England and Wales despite concerns over a number of deaths and serious injuries connected with their use.

Rudd has authorised the use of Taser X2, which can deliver two “shots”, unlike the single X26 currently in use in England and Wales, which is going out of production."

Both Manchester and London police have recently announced they will train and equip more officers with tasers, although expansion in the use of the weapons has long been part of police force policy across the country. Manchester will double (The Guardian, link) the number of trained officers to 1,100, while in London (The Telegraph, link) almost 1,700 more officers will be trained and issued with the weapons, pushing the total number to over 6,400.

The Childrens' Rights Alliance for England issued a warning over the proposed expansion:

“The more Tasers we have on our streets, the more they are used on children and the more chances there are of mistakes being made, making children less safe.

Tasers can inflict intolerable pain. The government’s own medical advisory committee on Tasers has flagged up concerns and recommended further study into the safety risks of these devices on children. Last year the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said the UK should prohibit the use of Taser on children because of concerns about the impact on children’s physical and mental health."

It appears that the deployment of the new X2 model will not be cheap - in March the Home Office agreed a £45 million contract with Axon Public Safety (formerly Taser), which produces and supplies the weapons. The contract award notice (pdf) states:

"This Framework Agreement is for the supply of Conducted Energy devices (CEDs) and associated equipment,and will have a term of 24 months with 2 optional 12 month extension periods (for a total possible extension period of 24 months)."

The contract was awarded on 13 March after a tender (pdf) was published in October 2015.

Use against children: across the UK

Surrey Police Taser use on children more than doubled in one year (Surrey Times, link):

"Use of Tasers against children by Surrey Police has more than doubled in a year.

There were seven incidents where Tasers were used against children in Surrey in 2016, up from three in 2015, but down from nine in 2014, according to figures released by police under the Freedom of Information Act.

Officers fired a Taser at a 15-year-old on the northern part of the police force area."

Hertfordshire taser-use on children doubles despite UN warning (Hertfordshire Mercury, link):

"Children are being tasered more frequently in Hertfordshire, with incidents doubling countywide in one year despite UN warnings to prohibit taser-use on children.

Tasers were used against children eight times in Herts in 2016, up from four in 2015.

Police used tasers against two 16-year-olds in 2016, in one incident the taser was drawn and in the other the person was red dotted, making them the youngest people police used tasers against."

Police used tasers against children in Wales 30 times in 2016 (Wales Online, link):

"The use of tasers against children as young as 12 in Wales has increased by 30% in a year.

There were 30 incidents where police officers used tasers against children in Wales in 2016, up from 23 in 2015 and from 19 in 2014."

PSNI use of tasers against children almost doubles in a year (Belfast Live, link):

"The use of tasers against children in Northern Ireland has almost doubled in a year.

There were 15 incidents during which tasers were used against children in Northern Ireland in 2016, up from eight in 2015 and 2014.

But Chief Superintendent Kevin Dunwoody said he believes the use of tasers can save lives in dangerous situations.

Of the 15 incidents reported in 2016, specially trained officers drew or red-dotted the tasers against children. The taser was never fired."

Police in Greater Manchester draw Tasers on 38 CHILDREN in a year - including a 14-year-old boy (Manchester Evening News, link):

"Tasers were drawn against children 38 times in Greater Manchester last year, shocking new figures have revealed.

A 14-year-old boy was the youngest teenager officers ‘red dotted’ with the device.

Red dotting is where the Taser is aimed at a person showing up as a red dot, as a warning.

The Freedom of Information request showed in Greater Manchester, police fired Tasers twice at under 18s, once at a 16-year-old boy and once at a 17-year-old boy."

Search our database for more articles and information or subscribe to our mailing list for regular updates from Statewatch News Online.


Spotted an error? If you've spotted a problem with this page, just click once to let us know.

Report error