Met police Taser use on UK kids soars six-fold

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The Metropolitan Police’s use of potentially lethal high-voltage Tasers on children in London has increased six-fold during a four-year period, new figures have revealed.

According to the figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE), police officers used the controversial stun guns on children 131 times between 2008 and 2012 across 21 London boroughs. The figures soared from nine instances in 2008 to 53 in 2012.

Met police Taser use on UK kids soars six-fold

“This report is very alarming. Tasers should not be used on children. What’s even more worrying is that the figures in this report only go up to 2012. Since then there has been a significant roll-out of Tasers to more police officers across London,” said Joanne McCartney, police and crime spokeswoman for London Assembly Labour group.

The figures also showed a marked disparity between incidences of Taser use between boroughs.

In Croydon, Southwark, Lambeth and Lewisham children were tasered 51 times between 2008 and 2012, accounting for 40 percent of the total.

“The increase in Taser use on children in London is extremely worrying especially as the government’s own safety advice warns that children are at a higher risk of suffering adverse effects from Tasers”, said Oliver Sprague, Amnesty International UK Arms Programme director.

Taser stun guns emit an electric shock to the target and are capable of rendering the victim unable to stand by incapacitating voluntary control over muscles.

The use of Tasers by British police has more than doubled to 7,250 deployments a year from 2009 to 2011 despite fears of a lack of training for officers, who use the 50,000-volt stun guns.

According to The Guardian, Taser use by police in England and Wales rose from 3,500 to 14,500 in the same period.

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