Police chiefs to review Tasers over fears black people are targeted

Police chiefs will review use of Tasers over fears officers are targeting ethnic minorities after figures showed black men are eight times more likely to have one drawn on them

  • Police chiefs will carry out a review into the use of Tasers after recent incidents 
  • Concerns have been raised that people from BAME backgrounds are targeted 
  • Figures revealed Tasers are eight times more likely to be drawn on black people
  • The footage of Wretch 32’s father being Tasered has led to widespread outrage 

Police chiefs will conduct a review into the use of Tasers after concerns were raised that people from BAME backgrounds are being disproportionately affected, according to reports.

A string of controversial incidents, including the shocking footage of rapper Wretch 32’s father being Tasered, has led to increased calls for scrutiny and independent researchers will now look into the use of the stun guns.

It was revealed from Home Office figures that officers were almost eight times more likely to draw their Tasers against black people in England and Wales – and their general use also rose 39 per cent last year. 

Tasers were first trialled by UK police forces in 2003, and a roll-out to all forces was completed in 2013.  

 Police chiefs will carry out a review into the use of officers’ Tasers after recent controversies

 Footage showing Wretch 32’s 62-year-old father being Tasered has led to widespread outrage

Around 35,000 officers in England and Wales now have Tasers at their disposal, and it has been reported that the police federation of both nations are ‘deeply committed’ to ensuring more officers have access to the device.  

But The Times state that Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi, also part of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), has given the green light for research into the issue.

A number of National Taser Stakeholder Advisory Group (NTSAG) members stepped down in April and had accused the NPCC of a lack of action over the concerning statistics involving ethnic minorities. 

Ms D’Orsi assured NTSAG last month that she accepted the concerns about ‘general police disproportionality’, and added that there was a ‘benefit’ into commissioning independent research.  

The police body admitted it was ‘deeply concerned about the lack of progress’ concerned with tackling disproportionality in the deployment of Tasers.  

The NPCC has confirmed Ms D’Orsi is now in discussions to appoint an independent researcher.

Amid the increased scrutiny, Martyn Underhill, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) lead on use of force, quit on Thursday. Mr Underhill, also the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, was criticised for raising concerns over disproportionality.

The footage showing the tasering of Wretch 32’s father sparked widespread outrage on Wednesday.

The police watchdog revealed they would assess the body cam video, which showed 62-year-old Millard Scott falling downstairs at his home in north London on April 21.

Mr Scott had been warned, ‘Police officer with a Taser. Stay where you are.’ during the incident – and Scotland Yard said that it had found no misconduct.

Millard Scott, speaking to ITV News, had said that he was ‘lucky to be alive’ after the incident

Tasers fire fishhook probes which can deliver shocks through up to two inches of clothing

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has demanded an ‘urgent explanation of the distressing incident’

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) was urged to launch an inquiry by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Amnesty International among others, and the body has instructed the force to refer the footage to them.

Mr Khan said: ‘It’s absolutely vital that our police service retains the trust of the communities it serves’.

And Oliver Feeley-Sprague, Amnesty’s UK policing expert, believes ‘this is yet another litmus test for the Met’s claim that black lives matter to them.’

The footage comes after protesters at Black Lives Matter marches identified racial bias stemming from police officers as a key reason behind the movement.  

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