On Friday 13th February, The London Evening Standard published an edited version of a letter we wrote in relation to their story on One hundred more police officers armed with Tasers to patrol in London, you can read their version here: Letters to the editor: We must resist the spread of Tasers
We publish our full statement with references to underline our commitment to fighting institutional racism in the Metropolitan Police. Thanks to our volunteers who collectively put a lot of work in putting this statement together in a short space of time:
The decision to increase the number of police officers armed with what the Metropolitan Police call ‘less-lethal weapons’ is a dangerous, knee-jerk reaction to a possible threat. Tasers are not ‘non-lethal weapons’. In 2012, a report produced by the American Heart Association stated unequivocally that Tasers can cause cardiac arrest and death. Between 2001 and 2013 there were 540 deaths resulting from the use of stun gun’s by US police officers. Before this announcement figures from 2013 showed that police usage of Tasers in England & Wales had more than doubled from 2009 levels. Alarmingly those figures also showed that Metropolitan Police used Tasers 53 times on London’s children which was a sharp increase.
Theresa May cited London Assembly evidence which revealed that 50% of people Tasered in the UK are from black or other minority ethnic backgrounds and 30% are emotionally or mentally distressed and ordered a review, this action seems to fly in the face of that. Given that BME people make up only 14% of the population, these figures are incredibly disproportionate and clearly indicate that the Metropolitan Police Service remains institutionally racist.
We believe unarmed vulnerable and/or BME people will be put at greater risk. The Commissioner’s assertion that an increase in Taser deployment is necessary to deal with the threat of terrorism is without evidential basis and indicative of the authoritative creep in counter-terrorism policing. This move will bring more, not less, violence to the capital’s streets