May 20 2013 Latest news:
by Tim Lamden
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Police in Haringey are set to train 40 of their officers to use Taser stun guns as part of a London-wide rollout of the controversial weapon.
By next February, the officers will have received full Taser training and a maximum of four Tasers will be available at any one time to respond to violent incidents in the borough.
Currently, Haringey officers are required to call the the Metropolitan Police’s specialist firearms unit SCO19 or the Met’s Territorial Support Group (TSG) if Taser assistance is needed.
The plans are part of a wider rollout of Taser across London which has already seen five boroughs - Harrow, Bromley, Barking and Dagenham, Enfield and Kingston - each train 40 of their officers in the use of Taser ahead of the Olympics.
Outlining the plans to Haringey Council’s Communities Scrutiny Panel on Monday, Sgt Andy Harding, of the TSG, said: “The mere presence of Taser has actually brought very tense and potentially violent situations to a swift conclusion without anybody being hurt.
“Ninety per cent of the time we draw this from the holster it is not required to be deployed because the situation diffuses.”
The electroshock weapon, sold by US company Taser International, produces an electrical current which can incapacitate a person for up to five seconds.
When aimed, a Taser produces a red dot on the target and if the trigger is pulled the weapon will discharge two probes on the end of copper wires up to a maximum distance of 21ft.
Once these probes attach to the target, 50,000 volts will pass down the copper wires and into the subject.
Sgt Harding insisted there were a number of “myths” associated with Taser, adding: “Taser is designed not to kill, it is designed purely to incapacitate.”
During Monday’s meeting, Cllr Reg Rice questioned the timing of the Taser rollout.
He said: “Would it not be prudent to abate the introduction of this before the investigation into the death of Mark Duggan has concluded?”
Cllr David Winskill, chairman of the Communities Scrutiny Panel, said: “The issue is for the police to engage fully with local communities about how the rollout will happen and to ensure that everyone is fully aware of this device’s potential and how it will be used.”