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Plans to allow more officers to use tasers

Plans to allow more officers to use tasers

Tuesday 28 July 2020

Plans to allow more officers to use tasers


The Home Affairs Department are drawing up plans that would allow more police officers to be equipped with tasers.

St. Clement Constable Len Norman and his officers have been working on proposals to adjust the way tasers are used, over the last 12 months.

Tasers have been in use in the island since 2014 following the adoption by the Assembly of the 'Tasers: Deployment and Use in Jersey by the States of Jersey Police’.

The then-Home Affairs Minister described the proposals as “stricter” than those of the rest of the British Isles.

police

Pictured: Under current rules, tasers can only be carried by officers who are authorised to carry firearms.

Under the rules, tasers can only be carried by officers who are authorised to carry firearms. They can only be deployed alongside firearms if an accredited Firearms Commander has authorised it.

According to the Jersey Police Complaints Authority’s annual report for 2019, Police Firearms Officers have discharged a taser following deployment to an incident involving a weapon on just four occasions since tasers have been introduced in the island.

There have been no complaints regarding the use of tasers in that period. 

The Home Affairs Minister is now hoping to bring forward plans to adjust the way tasers are deployed, which will have to be debated by the States Assembly.

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Pictured: The proposals could be debated in the Assembly in the autumn.

Explaining the rationale, a spokesperson for the Home Affairs department said that tasers improve public safety by minimising the risk to public.

“In essence, [the proposition] would allow more uniformed police officers, who have completed a Taser course to the national standard, to carry and deploy Taser without a specific firearms authority,” the spokesperson explained.

The proposed changes are supported by the conclusions of a review of the Police firearms capability conducted by the City of London Police in 2017.

As part of the review, the City of London Police noted how the current arrangements placed “an unacceptable risk to the officers who are left with no alternative than to potentially self-deploy at incidents of serious violence which would not attract an authority”.

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Pictured: Several internal reviews have been carried over the use of tasers.

As tasers are only used by the police, the spokesperson said that no other parties had been consulted on the proposals.

The Home Affairs Department has however assured that the use of tasers has been subject to several internal reviews over the last few years. Peer Reviews also took place in 2012 and 2017.  

The Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel has already announced it will be reviewing the proposal, with a Scoping Document and Terms of Reference having already been compiled. 

It is anticipated that the proposition could be lodged within the next couple of weeks. It could then be amended following the scrutiny review.

The Home Affairs Department expects it to be debated by the States Assembly in the autumn.

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