Watchdog warns police to resist ‘mission creep’ of Taser

Drawing Taser Gunsource: The Justice Gap
published: July 2014

Police forces must avoid ‘mission creep’ over their deployment of Tasers following a 200% increase in use over the last four years, warned the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in a report published today. The watchdog considered all complaints made regarding the weapon between 2004 and 2013.

IPCC commissioner Cindy Butts called for each use of a Taser to be ‘robustly justified’ so as to to avoid ‘mission-creep’ and using Tasers simply because they were available rather than necessary.

Over the last four years the use of Taser grown from 3,128 in 2009 to 10,380 in 2013 which was an increase of 232% – complaints had shot up by 211% over the same period (from 44 to 137 complaints). Since 2004, 434 complaints had been made to the IPCC and over three-quarters (78%) were subject to investigation. As of 2009, police forces have been required to refer all complaints regarding Taser use to the IPCC.

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