Community panel to examine use of tasers by police in Lichfield and Burntwood

A community panel is to examine the use of tasers by police in Lichfield and Burntwood.

Members of the local Safer Neighbourhood Panel have been given access to usage figures and are able to view footage captured by cameras worn by officers.

A police taser

A police taser

The group was created by Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis and is made up of local residents and councillors.

Commissioner Ellis said: “Police officers have significant powers and the role of Safer Neighbourhood Panels is crucial in making sure these powers are used properly in local communities. This includes making sure each taser use is appropriate and recorded in the right way.

“I’m satisfied that police in Staffordshire keep the discharge of taser to a minimum and in very specific circumstances. Taser is more often used as a deterrent to prevent trouble but it could still seriously harm public confidence if used wrongly.

“My aim continues to be to make policing in Staffordshire the most open and transparent in the country. Public confidence in policing is a priority and this extra layer of scrutiny from Safer Neighbourhood Panels will ensure transparency at the most local level.”

The panel was given a training and awareness session to understand the guidance police are given on the use of a taser.

Des Morrison, Lichfield District Safer Neighbourhood Panel member, said: “It’s a great introduction to the use and governance around the use of Taser, also what the firearms officers and the Taser deployed staff get to be trained on and when they can and can’t use it.

“It’s essential in terms of understanding the deployment of taser and therefore we can do our scrutiny role more effectively. It also piggybacks the ‘stop and search’ scrutiny that we’re doing so hand-in-hand we can understand what an officer goes through in terms of their thinking and their decision making but also the safe use of Taser deployment.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

1 Comment

  1. Darryl

    3rd June, 2016 at 9:55 am

    “I’m satisfied that police in Staffordshire keep the discharge of taser to a minimum and in very specific circumstances.”

    Government figures from 2013 used in the IPCC survey showed that Staffordshire had THE highest discharge per officer rate at 33 Taser discharges per 100 officers.

    “Des Morrison, Lichfield District Safer Neighbourhood Panel member, said: “It’s a great introduction to the use and governance around the use of Taser, also what the firearms officers and the Taser deployed staff get to be trained on and when they can and can’t use it.”

    When Taser was introduced, I distinctly remember the public safety message being “only for the most serious, violent and armed offenders.” We would see a reduction in the need to deploy arme3d officers and it would save lives as lethal force wouldn’t need to be used as often. Yet, as is predictable when equipment is issued to officers, we see the routine deployment of Taser to gain compliance for offenders who are simply resistant to arrest, drunk etc. It becomes the norm, not the exception.

    How can you quantify lawful usage when the parameters have drifted so far since its original mission purpose?

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