Spike in use of Tasers on children by Police Scotland

Spike in use of Tasers on children by Police Scotland

Figures have revealed that Tasers were used on 41 children over the past year by police officers, sparking demands for a ban on the devices in situations involving under-18s.

The use of the weapons on children rose by 17 per cent from the previous year, a new report shows.

This data include instances where conducted energy devices (CEDs) were aimed at children in addition to those where the weapon was fired.

In past six months, three children were incapacitated by the devices, including Taser weapons. This equals the total number for the preceding two years combined, a freedom of information (FoI) request found.

Nick Hobbs, the interim children and young people’s commissioner for Scotland, has called on the government to outlaw the use of the weapons on under-18s, saying he is “seriously concerned” about their potential to inflict lasting physical and psychological damage.

He said: “It is unacceptable for a child to be tasered, or to be threatened with a Taser by police.” He added: “Tasers are potentially lethal and inflict severe pain which creates significant risk for children.”

An 11-year-old boy in Ayr, allegedly wielding a butter knife, was disarmed with a CED in March. His mother, who said her son has learning difficulties, claimed the incident left him traumatised with a scar on his leg.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has repeatedly called for a ban on the use of CEDs against children. The UN Committee Against Torture has stated: “The use of these weapons causes severe pain constituting a form of torture, and that in some cases it may even cause death.”

Assistant chief constable Mark Williams said: “Keeping the public, our officers and staff safe is a priority. Tasers protect the public and emergency service workers from violent individuals and the mere presence of the device is often enough to de-escalate situations.”

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