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Richard Taylor
Posted on 28 Nov 2008 1:53 am

A number of documents are referred to in this statement, some are available online:

*The "TASER Trial Evaluation 2008" from the Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB), which the statement says provides: "final figures on Taser use in the trial":
http://scienceandresearch.homeoffice.gov.uk/hosdb/publicatio...

* The Defence Scientific Advisory Council Sub committee on the Medical Implications of Less lethal Weapons (DOMILL)'s. Statement on the medical implications of M26 and X26 Taser use at incidents where firearms authority has not been granted; which was published before the trial:
http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/operational-pol...

*The DOMILL statement on a review of the first year of operational use of M26 and X26 Tasers by Specially Trained Units and Authorised Firearms Officers at incidents where firearms authority has not been granted. This document is dated the 7th November 2008 and was released on the day of the Home Secretary's statement.:
http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/operational-pol...

I believe the statement is misleading in that the Home Secretary stated: "The trial commenced on 1 September 2007 in 10 forces: Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Gwent, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, Metropolitan Police Service, Northamptonshire, Northumbria, North Wales and West Yorkshire." The HOSDB report confirms that the trial did not start on that date in those forces. For example the Metropolitian Police trial started on the 10th of December 2007, meaning that at the time of the Home Secretary's statement it had not yet run for a year. I do not see how "final figures on Taser use in the trial" can be provided when the trial has not come to an end.

The Home Secretary's statement refers to "reports on the trial from ACPO", and the Home Office press release accompanying the statement ("http://press.homeoffice.gov.uk/press-releases/Funding-for-more-police-tasers) states: "The ACPO trial evaluation report can be found on the ACPO website". I have made a request for the ACPO report(s) via the whatdotheyknow website as at the time of writing they are not available online. (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/taser_trial_evaluation...)

While not referred to in the statement The Independent Police Complaints Commission has published the results of its monitoring of the roll-out of Taser. (http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/taser_report_nov_08.pdf)

Within hours following the statement London's Metropolitan Police spurned the Home Secretary's offer of funding for TASERs for all front line response officers. The Metropolitan Police Authority decided not to extend TASER use to all front line response officers in London on the grounds that they may cause fear and damage public confidence. (http://www.taser.org.uk/taser/met-police-not-to-extend-taser...)

On the morning of this announcement, which was well trailed in advance, Home Officer Minister Alan Campbell was interviewed on the Today program, the item was introduced by saying TASERs will soon be a common sight on the streets. (http://www.taser.org.uk/taser/tasers-will-soon-be-a-common-s...)

I have written to my MP opposing arming more police with TASER, though I support police firearms units having access to TASER weapons which they can elect to use as an alternative to firearms. (http://www.taser.org.uk/letter-to-my-mp-opposing-arming-more...)


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