South Yorkshire Police used Tasers on children on dozens of occasions last year

Police in South Yorkshire recorded using Tasers on children on dozens of occasions last year, figures reveal – including one which involved someone aged under 11.

By Tommy Lumby, Data Reporter
Thursday, 24th December 2020, 11:08 am

Officers reported firing the electrical weapons in two of those cases.

The Children’s Rights Alliance for England says the recorded increase in use of Tasers against children by police forces across England and Wales is “alarming”. The children’s human rights charity says “being threatened” with a Taser can be extremely frightening for a child even if the weapon is not fired, and has called for a ban on their use on young people.

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New figures reveal the use of tasers on children in South Yorkshire

Home Office figures show South Yorkshire Police drew Tasers on children aged under 18 on 25 occasions in 2019-20, up from 20 the previous year.

The figure counts the number of times each officer involved in an incident used the device rather than the number of separate incidents or how many children were involved.

The age recorded is that perceived by the officer. Officers fired a Taser twice, although neither of those cases involved under-11s.

When fired, Tasers are designed to temporarily incapacitate someone by giving them an electric shock.

A device can be fired at someone from a distance or held against their body to stun them.

Louise King, director of the Children’s Rights Alliance for England, said: “The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child that monitors the UK's child rights obligations has been very clear that Tasers should be prohibited on children, and yet their use continues to increase at an alarming rate year on year.

“Even if a Taser is not actually fired, being threatened with one is still extremely frightening for children.”

The figures also show South Yorkshire Police reported using a spit and bite guard on children on four occasions last year, all of whom were aged 11 to 17.­­

An SYP spokesman said: “We are committed to using appropriate force only when absolutely necessary. The use of taser by police officers is incredibly effective at keeping the public and our officers safe. When faced with a violent or unpredictable incident - such as an individual armed with a weapon, intent on causing harm - it is one of the most effective options available.”

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