Proposition to authorise the deployment of Tasers only when firearms are deployed

| February 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

The Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Ian Le Marquand, has lodged a proposition to authorise the deployment (issue) of Tasers by the States of Jersey Police (SoJP). However, this would only be in very limited circumstances and subject to various safeguards.

The proposition, which will be debated by the States in April, stipulates that the deployment of Tasers will have to be authorised by an accredited tactical firearms commander and will be confined to situations where firearms will be deployed. Similarly, under the terms of the proposition, only suitably trained SoJP firearms officers would be authorised to deploy Tasers.

Senator Le Marquand said: “In bringing this proposition, I support the views of the last three Chief Officers or Acting Chief Officers of our police force that it is highly desirable that trained officers should be able to deploy Tasers in appropriate circumstances.

“In the light of our human rights obligations, there is currently a worrying gap in the range of options that are available to our firearms officers. Tasers would give a non-lethal option to those officers, which may prevent them from having to resort to the use of firearms. It is important, not only for the rights of the individual but also for the legal and moral obligations of our police force, that a less harmful alternative to conventional firearms is made available.

“There are already very clear safeguards in relation to the minimal usage of force, and the actual firing of a Taser will be subject to those safeguards as well as to the appropriate nationally approved principles which apply to this weapon.”

The report that accompanies the proposition makes clear that its recommendations are made in compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights, which requires a ‘less lethal’ range of options to aid police forces in the management and resolution of conflict.

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