Police condemned over taser use against children

Police condemned over taser use against children

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have highlighted that police tasers have been used against children over a hundred times since 2018 as they urged the Scottish government to consider scaling back taser deployment in Scotland.

In 2018, Police Scotland doubled the number of officers armed with tasers, deploying the weapons to all divisions in the Scotland. At the time, Scottish Lib Dem justice spokesperson Liam McArthur warned that the widespread rollout of tasers could “heighten tensions”, undermine policing by consent, and start a “slippery slope towards an enforcement model of policing”. An even larger taser rollout was greenlit in 2021.

Recent Police Scotland data confirmed that since 2018, tasers have been used by officers in their interactions with children 131 times. Mr McArthur highlighted that the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and Scottish children’s rights campaigners have called for the usage of tasers against children to be banned.

Mr McArthur said: “Last week, the Scottish Parliament unanimously approved a revised bill that will incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law. This week we have figures on the scale of taser use against children, something which the UN Committee has explicitly called to be banned.

“The principle of policing by consent is integral to the relationship between police and communities across Scotland. The scale of the use of tasers against children suggests a slide towards enforcement policing.

“The use of tasers against children obviously presents increased physical and psychological risks. That is why the Children and Young People’s Commissioner, children’s charities and the UN Committee have all called for a ban in relation to children. In keeping with statements made by Ministers during the passage of the UNCRC legislation last week, it’s time this SNP/Green government took seriously those calls and considered restricting the user of tasers in such circumstances.”

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