To taser or not to taser- that is the question………

Taser Teen USA

This is a link of a video which was taken from the Guardian on line.

It is a video of a 14 year old girl being tasered by a police officer in America after she was inciting public order outside of a school for swearing and shouting.

She is first seen to be grappling with the officer, after he has pushed her against the side of a car, he then retreats and tasers her in the groin area where she falls to the floor. A friend tries to come over to help, however other officers then arrive to assist.

Was this the correct and proportional response, and would we have done the same if we had the authority to carry tasers as standard?

Firstly the proportional response is to use tactical communications, which you can see clearly hasn’t worked, he then goes up a level using unarmed defence tactics, and he then retreats. Now in the case of the UK, we would then have the decision to use our baton, or pava. Which would be the more proportional option? It isn’t only what we see it as, but it is also the perception of the people who witness it, either at the time or after if it is captured.
You are not telling me that the Guardian put it out there, with, no doubt, other news agencies and mediums, because they thought he did a ‘jolly good job’, they have put it out there as an outrage, a ‘how dare he?’ level.

So we decide to use our baton, a couple of strikes in a green area, what happens then? The officer then has to try and detain the suspect with a drawn baton, they can’t just drop it, or put it away, there is no time. The perception would also be seen as being a little too ‘overboard’.
So let’s say we go for the Pava option. Now this is great in theory, but with Pava, unless you have a ‘direct’ hit, it might not be particularly effective, however if it is, you then have the difficulty of an officer in their own, and if they get contaminated themselves then there is no way that they are going to be able to detain and deal until help arrives, and if you work in a rural area, this could take a good 10-15 minutes on occasion.
So what do we think of taser? It’s certainly effective, the effects are instantaneous and quick, the detainee will drop like a ton of bricks, but then it’s done, albeit the barb removal the hospital. No lasting damage, maybe not physically, but perhaps mentally both for the offender and the public.

So what is the answer? Do we all need to have taser? I think there is a strong argument both for and against, which is why we like things to be balanced when debating about such issues.
Having taser would make the officers more confident so that if they were in a difficult and dangerous situation that they would be able to use it safe in the knowledge that it would be very effective. Of course there would be paperwork as and when it was drawn, or used, there always is, but a few lines of writing would be made up knowing that you had a useful tool handy if needs be.

The argument against is once we are given tasers, are we then looking towards the idea of being armed properly, and have it not as a specialism but as a normal day to day piece of kit.
Now, forgive me, I am not belittling some officers, however, think carefully, and think of the police officers you know and think ‘would I feel safe with that officer having a taser or a gun?’ and it would be a worrying thought for some. I can think of a few officers who hardly know what day it is, and who have difficulty in doing regular day to day tasks, and I think it would worry me, a female colleague once left court papers on the roof of the car, and drove off scattering them all down the street. Would I feel safe with her having a taser? I think not! There is another officer, a Man this time, (just to be fair!) who couldn’t organise a p*** up in a brewery, again, would I feel safe? No!

So what is the answer? It’s a tough cookie, I would consider being armed with a Taser as I know that i would most certainly feel more confident in my abilities, but it shouldn’t be used as a crutch, but I just feel that we are getting to a point where the UK is getting more like the US, and I don’t think we are that far behind them. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that all I had was a truncheon.

It’s a difficult decision to make and I’m glad I don’t have to, but we are always going to be scrutinised and told we are doing something wrong, or perceived and criticised for trying to di the right thing, so before you start thinking the officer was completely wrong, just take a minute to think – what would you do in his shoes?

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