August 8, 2020

Man dies in police Taser shooting in Newcastle-under-Lyme [UK]

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_79884031_newc224 _79884165_51e8280e-2763-41df-b4a7-b6bec6cdf0ae _79884167_neighbour2212 _79884171_scene2212From BBC

A man has died after being shot by police with a Taser during a suspected burglary in Staffordshire.

Officers were responding to a reported break-in in Audley Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, shortly after 01:00 GMT.

The occupants had left before officers arrived, leaving the man inside the property. A Taser was discharged and the man was taken to a police vehicle.

He “became unresponsive” and despite the efforts of paramedics died a short time later, Staffordshire Police said.

‘Highest Taser use’

The incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

In a report by the IPCC in July, Staffordshire Police were shown to have the highest use of Tasers per capita in the country.

An independent panel found they were discharged on 72 occasions and drawn “as a deterrent” 547 times over nine years.

Neighbour Mark Finney, who lives near the flat,said: “I heard severe banging and shouting last night about 1.30. I got up to have a cup of coffee.

“There was somebody in distress and there was a lot of shouting and banging but I didn’t know the police had been called.

“It seemed like somebody was arguing with somebody and shouting and banging things around.”

Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis said it was “immensely sad” the man had died and it would be inappropriate to comment further during the investigation.

Mr Ellis said he had also asked the force’s ethics, transparency and audit panel to look at the incident.

Neighbour Mark Finney said he heard “severe banging and shouting”

Commander Neil Basu, from Acpo, said: “While Taser is always an option of last resort, officers must be free to act in the best interests of public safety, whoever the person posing a threat may be.”

In September it emerged that a review into the use of Tasers by the force found that officers discharged them on one out of 10 occasions when they were drawn.

The force used Tasers 33 times for every 100 officers in 2013, and a total of 619 times in nine years, according to the police watchdog.

The force said the use of a Taser was “a last resort for officers”.

Solicitor Sophie Kahn, who has represented Taser victims, called for their use to be curbed while a national review is carried out.

“The Home Secretary ordered a review of Tasers in October this year due to the excessive use on vulnerable individuals,” she said.

“As the spotlight is now firmly on police use of force, the Home Secretary should move to impose a temporary ban on Taser use whilst the review is ongoing.”

What is a Taser?

The Taser fires two darts with a five-second, 50,000-volt charge, which can temporarily disable its target.

Its ammunition consists of a single-use compressed air cartridge which fires the darts and has to be replaced each time the weapon is fired.

Police guidelines stipulate the device may be used where officers face “a risk of serious violence”.

Tasers were introduced in England and Wales in 2003 and rolled out across both countries in 2008, and were not limited to specialist firearms officers.

Controversial Taser use

Tasers were introduced into British policing in 2003, but their use over the years has been surrounded with controversy:

Jordan Lee Begley, 23, died after being hit with the electric stun gun by a Greater Manchester Police officer in 2013. The five officers involved in the incident, who wanted anonymity, will be named unless they win an appeal

In 2013, petrol-soaked Andrew Pimlott appeared to be holding a lit match at the time he was Tasered by police in Plymouth. He caught fire and died, but despite investigations by the Crown Prosecution Service and IPCC the officer did not face criminal charges

In March, campaigners claimed Taser use against children by the Metropolitan Police rose six-fold over four years

In July, the police watchdog raised concerns over officers in England and Wales using Tasers at point-blank range despite no longer being trained to do so. The IPCC said the technique was “purely a means of pain compliance”, while the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) said point-blank firing was sometimes necessary

In November, Matthew Williams, who murdered a woman in an act of cannibalism, died after being Tasered by police in Wales. His cause of death is still unknown

Acpo said officers must pass a nationally recognised training course before they are allowed to deploy a Taser.

IMAGES:

The occupants had left before officers arrived

Neighbour Mark Finney

The incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission

Taser – generic

 

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