Metropolitan Police Authority turns down Taser pilot scheme plans

The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) has refused to endorse a proposed Home Office pilot to roll out the use of Taser stun guns to trained officers in London.

It is the second time that the MPA – a body made up of politicians and magistrates – has turned the plan down, requesting more detailed information before it could be satisfied with the Met’s participation, including issues of proper training.

The Home Office pilot scheme would have given the electric hand-held weapons – which discharge an electrical current of up to 50,000 volts to temporarily incapacitate a person – to non-firearms officers for the first time. Ten police forces in England and Wales were to take part in the trial for extended use.

Cindy Butts, deputy chair of the MPA, said: “When the use of Tasers was first discussed by the authority, it was as a less lethal option to the use of firearms by the police, and we were all agreed that its use was of operational value and would save lives.

“Once again, we have been asked to sanction the use of the Taser under very different circumstances, and we are uncomfortable with the potential increase in the use of force by the police which we believe would send the wrong message to Londoners.

“We remain to be convinced that participation in the Home Office pilot scheme would be of real value, and have again requested information to answer our legitimate concerns,” Butts concluded.

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