AN INDEPENDENT Office for Police Conduct report on Taser use is “not worth the paper its written on”, Hampshire Police Federation’s Chair has said.
The study, released earlier this month, made 17 recommendations for improvement to national guidance and training; scrutiny and monitoring of Taser use; and data and research.
But it has been widely condemned by policing for being insufficiently rigorous. The Police Federation of England and Wales said the review was “statistically insignificant” after it emerged that just 101 of the 100,000 Taser users in the five-year period were assessed.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council dismissed the review that it said was “vague, lacks detail and ignores extensive pieces of work already underway”.
Zoë Wakefield, Hampshire Police Federation Chair, said: “It is just not a valid evaluation of the use of Taser when it is such a small sample of cases. In any survey, you need a decent number of cases to actually give you that proper, rounded view. The cynic in me would say that they’ve selected the ones that are going to make the most headlines and only looked at those. Any of us that are using Taser, and I’m working with officers that are using Taser, know that it’s used proportionately and that the training is very thorough.
“Every time a Taser is used, body-worn video is reviewed to make sure that is there any learning from it. It’s just not worth the paper it’s written on, is it?”
Zoë said the report did not feel fair, that it was biased and she couldn’t understand the IOPC’s motives for publishing it.
She added: “They may well have come across some cases where there has been misuse of Taser but they are by far the minority and it is such a good piece of kit. It’s so useful to so many officers. The red dotting of somebody can de-escalate a situation, prevent not only that person being injured but officers being injured as well.”