14 May 2020
The Federation has disputed a report from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) which calls for greater scrutiny on Taser.
The watchdog claims a range of stakeholders have raised concerns over the “disproportionate use of Taser against black people and those with mental ill health”.
In response it has called for “robust oversight”, with transparency around how and when the devices are used, and “more research to understand issues of disproportionality”.
Responding to the announcement, Police Federation of England and Wales’ Conduct and Performance Lead Phill Matthews, said: “We do not recognise and disagree there is a disproportionate use of Taser against BAME communities or people with mental ill health – and we are certainly not aware of any concluded cases where an officer has been criticised on their use of Taser by the IOPC.
“But of course, we will wait and see if any recommendations or findings come out of its investigations, and if so, we will work with the IOPC to change policy.
He added: “We remain convinced that Taser is an essential piece of equipment which saves the lives of both officers and members of the public. We are very much still a country that polices by consent. And given the huge number of incidents police officers attend, the number of times Taser is used remains very small. The mere presence of the equipment is often enough to de-escalate situations making it extremely effective.”
Currently all uses of Taser are recorded and the findings are published by the Home Office in its Use of Force statistics.
The watchdog’s decision follows high-profile cases in Greater Manchester and in London which are currently being investigated. It is concerned these incidents have caused damage to police and community relations and are impacting on public confidence.
Mr Matthews continued: “It would be inappropriate to comment on any of these recent allegations until they have been properly investigated.
“The Federation will continue to robustly support its members under investigation and challenge any misleading statements which may also undermine the public’s confidence in policing,” he concluded.