Time for Tasers?

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This topic contains 55 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by dwynnehugh 5 hours, 15 minutes ago.

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  • #35488

    The VFM Addict
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    @thevfmaddict

    After this mornings horrific machete attack on a Police Officer during which it seems he was only able to protect himself from further harm than he suffered by use of his Taser – and while I am entirely against the universal issue of firearms – I have finally concluded that all officers should these days carry Tasers.

    I wonder what other peeps’ views are?

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    Here's hoping the Mad Tangerine of the West and the Mad Monk of the East stay friends or we're all in trouble

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  • #35490

    Dave Rice
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    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 2,374

    I generally agree, but they don’t help themselves. There have been several cases here of trigger happy and inappropriate tasering. Some were filmed by passers by and they were clearly ridiculous. In one incident they tasered their own race relations adviser! Link

    But lessons have been learned – Bristol Taser incident: Force to adopt print scanners link

    Then we have people with mental health issues being tasered regularly. Here’s one, again on camera so no whitewash. Except of course there was in both cases.

    In August 2016, police in Telford fired a Taser at Dalian Atkinson, 48, a former Premier League footballer, outside his father’s house in the early hours of the morning. A pre-inquest hearing heard how Atkinson became “unresponsive shortly after being shot with a stun gun”. He was taken to Princess Royal hospital, in Telford, where he died. Atkinson had been suffering from depression, his brother told a newspaper at the time, and “was in a manic state, out of his mind and ranting”. After a lengthy investigation, the IOPC has referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider whether two police constables should face criminal charges. A pre-inquest review is due to take place in Shrewsbury this year.

    As I said, they don’t help themselves.

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    #35491

    tadka
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    @tadka
    Forumite Points: 686

    The phrase “those who would give up their freedom for security deserve neither” comes to mind for some reason. Even though it doesn’t really apply here. But I always disagree with people who want a big change because of a single incident. I don’t read or watch the news but from what I occasionally see it seems we are no longer allowed to use force to defend ourselves from people who break in into our homes. So why should the Police have such special rights to defend themselves? Like my sister would say – suck it up and deal with it…

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    #35492

    Richard
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    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 2,301

    On the other hand why was the scum responsible not in need of hospital attention? Though, it would have been a waste of resources, so I am glad the need did not arise. It went back to its van, tried to drive off and then attacked with a large knife, so three strikes in one go. I understand all of its performance was caught on camera. I am sorry I do not buy the bleeding heart rhetoric of those who seek to defend the wrongs of low-life-trash like that. At least NHS resources did not have to be wasted on it, that is the only ‘good’ news.

    The case Dave quoted there was this statement “was in a manic state, out of his mind and ranting”. Why was he even on the street and not in some more secure location where he could have had the care he very clearly needed?

    I read about the case of the race relations person, but since I have no information other than brief conflicting comments, I can give no valid comment.

    I avoid going out at night and avoid many areas, even in day light given the problems of wild criminals there are about the place. There are drug dealers actively trading within a  couple of miles, perhaps less of where I live.

    Why should I have to restrict my life because of them and their crazy minders? Frankly I have already lost my freedom, so why should those who caused my loss not suffer? If it hurts them, good.

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    #35493

    Richard
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    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 2,301

    The white wash trail cuts both ways I see the ‘person-thing’that tried to kill a small child at the Tate is now being reported as: ‘The 17-year-old charged with throwing a young boy off a viewing platform at London’s Tate Modern gallery will be assessed by mental health experts, a court heard’.

    Do I hear the sound of another can of white-wash being prepared? Ready for him to be released in a few months time perhaps?

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    #35494

    keith with the teef
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    @thinktank
    Forumite Points: 806

    It will get worse before it gets better.

    Apparently some women are carry knives in Prams.

    Some one has been playing Bio shock.

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    #35495

    JayCeeDee
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    @jayceedee
    Forumite Points: 1,377

    The case Dave quoted there was this statement “was in a manic state, out of his mind and ranting”. Why was he even on the street and not in some more secure location where he could have had the care he very clearly needed?

    “Care in the community” was the catchphrase at the time – the bones of a good idea ( for some, not all ) to deal with mental health.
    Unfortunately, the lunatic asylums were a prime target for ( supporters of the government at the time ) developers, and when they were closed, the grounds and buildings became housing estates and apartments. Huge fortunes were made.

    Unfortunately, the inmates were released into the community at a time when it was ill-prepared to help due to lack of infrastructure and funding for the staff needed to make it work. Chaos ensued.

    A lot of the old cottage hospitals were also closed down and re-developed at the same time. It’s amazing how things go round and come back again, the cottage hospitals have a new identity as Minor Injury Units and are coming back into popularity, and even being built, to ease the pressure on A&E.

     

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by JayCeeDee. Reason: Edited to add links
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    #35497

    Dave Rice
    Moderator
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 2,374

    Richard, that is what the Police said, when the camera footage was reviewed the story was very different. And it was at a home for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues in a quiet cul-de-sac. He wasn’t drunk, he is autistic.

    The action happens within just a few moments. Margaret points to the screen. “Did you see that?” She rewinds. The video appears to show a very different sequence of events from that described in the officers’ statements. Max has both arms up, hands above his head in apparent surrender. “I can’t see him push anyone,” Margaret says. “He puts his hands down to be handcuffed and then he suddenly gets scared and decides to run away.” She slows down the footage. “It happens very quickly, but can you see the police officer pushes Max in the chest?” The video shows Max losing his balance and falling to the floor. As he struggles to get up, officer A fires the Taser. One barb landed in the back of Max’s neck, the other in his upper back.

    On 30 November 2015, Max, his family and legal team went to Bristol magistrates court for a hearing. Before the hearing, Max’s solicitor met the prosecution barrister and showed him the CCTV footage of the Tasering. The case was dropped.

    “If Margaret hadn’t had the CCTV, Max could have gone to prison for something he hadn’t done,” says Lorne Wilkinson, a former police officer and the litigator on Max’s case. The sentence for assaulting a police officer is up to six months in prison or a £5,000 fine. “It would have been sending someone with the understanding of a seven-year-old into a man’s prison.”

    On 4 December 2015, Margaret submitted a complaint to the IOPC. She received a response on 6 October 2017. The IOPC found “inaccuracies” in the officers’ accounts, but did not find evidence of any misconduct. In a statement, Avon and Somerset police said: “The IOPC found there was no case to answer for misconduct for any of the officers involved. The report stated both the arrest and use of Taser were reasonable in the circumstances”. “I was stunned,” Margaret says. “I feel really let down.”

    You can make your own mind up, the site that text came from has the CCTV footage.

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    #35498

    The VFM Addict
    Participant
    @thevfmaddict
    Forumite Points: 900

    There are of course many, many more instances of the over use of other methods of restraint than the Taser which have resulted in, shall we say, “unusual accidental deaths”.    So its swings and roundabouts as always.   I have for some time been coming round to the belief that the general issuing of Tasers carries more benefits than risks.   All that this mornings incident did was to provoke me to raise the matter for discussion.

    With knife attacks both terror and non-terror related on the increase I would rather see a few ‘accidental’ Taserings than a bladed nutter running amok a little longer than need be while armed back-up is awaited.    For me its a little more about giving the Police the tools to protect us rather than tools to protect themselves, if you see what I mean.   Once upon a time the Police had weight of numbers as a tool but now all too often its a single or couple of bobbies with the next officers five minutes or more away.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    Here's hoping the Mad Tangerine of the West and the Mad Monk of the East stay friends or we're all in trouble

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    #35500

    Dave Rice
    Moderator
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 2,374

    As I said, I generally agree with you but the Police have a habit of going too far and being their own worst enemy. It’s not just a handful of incidents. In the above case you have 2 policemen attending at a known home for those with learning difficulties to talk to a single male about a cracked window! FFS, a cracked window! They then trump up assault charges to justify their actions and would have been successful were it not for CCTV on a neighbours building.

    There is evidence that shows that a policeman armed with a taser is more likely to be attacked and more likely to show aggression, a vicious circle. Something to ponder on.

    This all seems reasonable when chatting in the pub but if you’ve ever been the subject of a policeman trying to find something, anything, to do you for you may change your mind. Riding a large customised motorcycle for many years and being associated with “counter culture” events I can tell you it’s all too real.

    I am not against the police having tasers at all, and having my grandfathers truncheon I can tell you you can do an awful lot of damage with one of those too! I’m just not sure I’m for them being general issue.

    I’m sure D2 will be along with his inside view and I’ll be interested to hear it.

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    #35501

    dwynnehugh
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    @dwynnehugh
    Forumite Points: 952

    I’m so impressed that some here think that it is ONLY the police who will try to cover their own butt end when the excreta hits the air conditioner – of course it NEVER EVER happens in any other job??  In extreme emergencies you will easily recognise the police – they are the ones running to the incident when YOU are running in the opposite direction!!

    Tragically the taser has had bad publicity and as in all jobs some officers are more zealous then others – can they be blamed?  It is so very easy to pull out a few bad incidents and forget the thousands where a taser may have ended what could have ended up as a very bad situation.

    But then you’ve gotta have been there to understand it!!

    The more you meet people the more you understand why Noah took animals instead of humans

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    #35502

    Ed P
    Participant
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 3,715

    We are now in a Catch 22 situation, our idiot Conservative Government so reduces our Police Force that there are too few Police Officers on the street to nip any situation in the bud. This is compounded by very inexperienced officers, many of whom do not even know the area having just been bussed-in from some outlying district to cover shortages etc.

    Despite statements from the Clown PM this situation will not improve for many years. The Police were forced to close and sell off many Police Stations so in many cases new Police Officers will have to work from home. They will not be able to use a Police car to get in as the Government forced a sell-off of these as well!  I’ll just touch on the fact that training will be a huge resource consumer a that it will take years to increase numbers. (Unfortunately I cannot link to official data as there has been a Government clamp-down on releasing negative information, but any Neighbourhood Watch rep should have the contacts to verify these statements)

    The nett effect is as said a Catch 22 situation, we are pretty much forced to be in a situation where the Police have to make up for insufficient resources with fire-power. (not REAL fire-power as training fire-arms officers takes even more resources!).

    BTW I totally agree with JCD, and my perception is that a greater proportion of the population now need to be placed in controlled Institutions than was the case in the 1970s.

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    #35503

    Richard
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    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 2,301

    We are now in a Catch 22 situation, our idiot Conservative Government so reduces our Police Force that there are too few Police Officers on the street to nip any situation in the bud. This is compounded by very inexperienced officers, many of whom do not even know the area having just been bussed-in from some outlying district to cover shortages etc. Despite statements from the Clown PM this situation will not improve for many years. The Police were forced to close and sell off many Police Stations so in many cases new Police Officers will have to work from home. They will not be able to use a Police car to get in as the Government forced a sell-off of these as well! I’ll just touch on the fact that training will be a huge resource consumer a that it will take years to increase numbers. (Unfortunately I cannot link to official data as there has been a Government clamp-down on releasing negative information, but any Neighbourhood Watch rep should have the contacts to verify these statements) The nett effect is as said a Catch 22 situation, we are pretty much forced to be in a situation where the Police have to make up for insufficient resources with fire-power. (not REAL fire-power as training fire-arms officers takes even more resources!). BTW I totally agree with JCD, and my perception is that a greater proportion of the population now need to be placed in controlled Institutions than was the case in the 1970s.

    Does this bigoted rubbish have any relevance to the report in question? I can answer that one for you, No it does not. Police numbers were not an issue in this case, not having insurance for his lethal weapon was. Did police training play a part in the wild idiot’s attempted use of lethal force, no it did not. Did police training help the office who was being attacked, yes he disabled the loon, sadly not permanently.

    As for the points from others. The police have been equipped with body cameras to try to rebalance the issues. No doubt dubious odd sods will of course claim that the police video has been edited to show the police in the right against, their special interest bod or some other characterless thug.

    The age of Dixon of Dock Green never was that was fiction. The reality is that too many streets and districts are now affected by a range of  serious issues many down to the likes of the misnamed ‘legal highs’, or more accurately ‘life-losers’. If they don’t kill you there is a high risk they will have serious life affecting results on both the taker and those who become collateral damage.

    I take dwynnehugh’s point, ever job has those who are just unsuitable, those who are poor performers, those who are unsuited to a particular job, those who are having an off-day those who are off the pace and so on. Most do not set out to do a bad job, SPAD train drivers are probably not setting out to kill themselves or others, lorry drivers who misjudge a corner or hill in all likelihood did not set out to kill, though they have established a regular records of deaths on the M11 through careless driving. Van drivers who set out with no insurance to carry a large knife do not do so through accident, they set out that way. They did not try two ways to escape before trying to kill their way out of trouble.

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    #35504

    Dave Rice
    Moderator
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 2,374

    My original argument was the wider issuing of tasers seems to be a good idea but how many times have these sorts of decisions back fired due to unintended consequences? I aimed to show what these could be and that for the people at the wrong end of them they were not trivial events and shouldn’t just be dismissed as inevitable collateral damage. With greater power goes the responsibility to use that power appropriately and that needs discussing too.

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    #35505

    Richard
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    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 2,301

    I do accept that the law of unintended consequences all too often applies. A certain Mr Blair found that out when he was throwing his failures round. I noted that the police now wear body cameras, some other professions have copied this style, as much for their protection as for other reasons. I suspect that the body cameras not only cut down the likely complaints from those who are in the wrong, but I know that if I was wearing one, I would be aware of being recorded. In fact, I am aware that wherever I go I expect and perhaps hope to be recorded and I try to act accordingly, though I have little hope that the criminal protection service, (the CPS) would ever accept the recording as valid evidence of any wrong done against me.

    Returning to the matter of the taser specifically in this case, rather than confusing the issue with historic matters, I have no objection at all to its use. Society has become a sicker, worse, riskier pile of poo as shown by the driver in question, but at the same time past events have provided rich evidence to guide developments and lessons are being learned. Police body cameras are one manifestation of the needed developments. I have mixed feelings about whether the police recordings should be made public. Some increasingly prevalent low life would possible seek to find ways to circumvent their use if techniques become too widely understood.

    Dave, I very well understand the issues surrounding autistic behaviour, our daughter is in assisted living. Suffice it to say that we are less than ecstatic whenever she mentions any idea of changing her treatments, after a long period of stability.

    I also referred to collateral damage, to expand that a bit, the 8-year-old long dead school friend of our other, elder daughter was collateral damage from the drug habit of her highly paid father. He left her surviving sister a very large trust fund. Drug fuelled stupidity is not just for the ‘underprivileged’.

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    #35507

    dwynnehugh
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    @dwynnehugh
    Forumite Points: 952

    Dave – I agree but there is an old adage that ‘when you are up to your neck in alligators, it’s easy to forget that the goal was to drain the swamp’.

    What is the alternative – do the American police forces have it right????

    Whilst anything can go wrong at any time – we have to accept that as a fact of life – we have car accidents – should we close all roads, we have nurses to kill – do we close all hospitals, we have air crashes – should we ban all aeroplanes??  The list is endless. There are no ideal senarios for every day situations.

    As much as anyone can do, we do have to accept that, as long as there is human interaction – things can and will go wrong – occasionally with tragic consequences for both sides.  Please have a look how many police officers have been killed in the course of their duty in the last 10 years as compared to the death rate from tasers. Those officers did not go to work on that day intending to kill someone or to be killed – fact of life.

    Our emergency services are expected to do more and more with less and less staffing, large decreases in budgets, certainly these days the police have HAD to take on new rolls for which they were, in my time never trained for, just because other agencies are in the same dire straits as the police BUT the police are there 24/7/365 and they HAVE to cope and that is how HMG gets away with it!! The ‘stress level sickness’ of police is now higher than it ever has been. I wonder why?

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by dwynnehugh.

    The more you meet people the more you understand why Noah took animals instead of humans

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    #35509

    JayCeeDee
    Participant
    @jayceedee
    Forumite Points: 1,377

    I just wish that every Prime Minister or Chancellor that fanfares the amount they are giving to the NHS, Education and Policing would stop the Christmas present style fanfare announcements and say that they’re restoring the amount they’ve withheld over the last 10 years and they’re sorry they got it wrong!!!

    I shan’t hold my breath.

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    #35510

    Richard
    Participant
    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 2,301

    Dave – I agree but there is an old adage that ‘when you are up to your neck in alligators, it’s easy to forget that the goal was to drain the swamp’. What is the alternative – do the American police forces have it right???? Whilst anything can go wrong at any time – we have to accept that as a fact of life – we have car accidents – should we close all roads, we have nurses to kill – do we close all hospitals, we have air crashes – should we ban all aeroplanes?? The list is endless. There are no ideal senarios for every day situations. As much as anyone can do, we do have to accept that, as long as there is human interaction – things can and will go wrong – occasionally with tragic consequences for both sides. Please have a look how many police officers have been killed in the course of their duty in the last 10 years as compared to the death rate from tasers. Those officers did not go to work on that day intending to kill someone or to be killed – fact of life. Our emergency services are expected to do more and more with less and less staffing, large decreases in budgets, certainly these days the police have HAD to take on new rolls for which they were, in my time never trained for, just because other agencies are in the same dire straits as the police BUT the police are there 24/7/365 and they HAVE to cope and that is how HMG gets away with it!! The ‘stress level sickness’ of police is now higher than it ever has been. I wonder why?

    I do not and will not argue with what you have said, I said much the same above, I will add a few comments and touch on a few personal aspects. Closing the old mental hospitals without making any realistic provision for the care and treatment of those who need care and treatment was a major failure. However, it is also true to say that closing the old style mental hospitals, (the ‘lunatic asylums’) was probably correct on at least two grounds. They were not fit for purpose and many were time expired buildings. The huge error was in dumping those who needed help into communities that could not cope and then expecting the police to pick up the resulting pieces. That would have been bad enough, but the growing drug problems has multiplied and considerably complicated the issues. Medical issues, stupidity issues and criminality issues became woven together with no one able to disentangle the threads, so it became a ‘police problem’ as a last resort.

    Our eldest had medical complications in the past, quite distinct from her younger sibling’s issues. She adopted a fairly alternative style of dress when young. One day she collapsed with a seizure some years ago, so the ‘highly trained medical staff’ who turned up took one look, assumed she was suffering from drugs or alcohol and left her in the bus stop. Eventually friends helped her to get home where she was cleaned up and recovered. Subsequently, she obtained treatment for her underlying conditions, but no thanks to those who should have known, but did not know better. At least that one did not become a police statistic – to everyone’s benefit.

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    #35514

    Dave Rice
    Moderator
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 2,374

    Well I think there’s one thing we all agree on, TM cut things too far in so many areas.

    Scotland (and other places) have had success in reducing violence by tackling the causes, but we have the narrative of an arms race which surely must increase violence not reduce it. How much of that is just throwing red meat to a certain audience?

    I would much prefer a solution that makes everyone safer and if we look to America weaponisation isn’t it. Priti Patel wants criminals to feel terror, well looking at history that didn’t work either.

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    #35515

    Richard
    Participant
    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 2,301

    I am sure that the 89-year-old woman who was raped and murdered in her own home and beaten to death, was very reassured to know that she was feeling terror rather than the thug who was killing her without a concern for her.

    A little honesty suggests that what Priti Patel wants criminals to feel is the concern, ideally terror that they will be caught, processed and treated, perhaps as the scum who murdered the old lady should be. Not be the nine out of ten who get off scot-free with the tenth getting tea and sympathy and being sent on their way. Only to rinse and repeat ever more.

    It is one sound bite wonder to compare past efforts to use the fear of possible incarceration for stealing food against the certainty of going hungry, it is another to suggest that the present way of so called justice is working well. Frankly if fools want to die after synthetic drug use let them do so wherever they fall, without wasting money on treatment. However, if they want to rob and assault you Dave for their next fix because of their self-inflicted folly, where will you then stand, or more likely fall down injured or dying?

    For the sake of accuracy I am not advocating some backwoods USA style failed crack down, though the famous broken window approach did appear to have merit, so have other approaches such dealing with problems as health issues though not at the expense of allowing criminal acts to go unpunished.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Richard.
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    #35519

    Dave Rice
    Moderator
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 2,374

    Richard, if I thought that rounding up the top 1,000 miscreants and topping them would work by serving as a deterrent then I’d probably be behind it, but it doesn’t.

    The countries with high crime rates also have the hell hole prisons and death penalty, beatings etc. Look at what we used to hang or transport people for, it didn’t stop the crimes happening did it? These people used to be killed in public so there was no doubt how nasty your end would be. They still went ahead.

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