Debate: should the police carry taser guns?

17 November 2008

Its been announced that ordinary bobbies on the beat will be trained to use taser guns.

Do you think the police should be allowed to carry taser guns?

  • Is this inevitable considering the rise in gun and knife crime?
  • Or will it lead to police abusing their powers?
  • What is your view on this? Tell us what you think?


Have your say, and debate the issue here on PCS comment, and a selection of the comments will be published in View, the monthly magazine for PCS members.

Tab Comment

  1. View comments
  2. Add a new comment

Tab Comment content

  1. For it

    21 April 2010

    While Pepper Spray can work, it can also go into the eyes of near by people or police officers. Maybe not all police in the UK need tasers but maybe if they were given to officers in areas of high violence such as the poorer areas of many of the nations large cities. (ex. Manchester, Nottingham, etc) Tasers also give Police more respect, how can you feel safe calling the police while gettin Burguled when their best weapon against a criminal armed with glass cutters, knives, or blunt objects is a can of CS Spray?

    Kane C

    12 December 2008

    It would be interesting to know how many police officers have allegedly been kicked to death as suggested by Vicky. I would suggest that it is far fewer (single figures?) than the number of citizens who have been killed or seriously injured by the use of tasers. In addition I would also suggest that having to deal with violent behaviour goes with the job, and that is why the police are relatively well paid (and quite rightly so), but that the situation in the UK has not yet reached the level where we need to give the police the carte blanche use of tasers or guns. I would also suggest that it is important to note that many senior police officers are completely against increasing the use of tasers. I am also disappointed that Vicky has chosen to brand the anti-taser lobby as "do-gooders". What an odd choice of words.


    12 December 2008

    To Vicky Lee. Have you ever seen anyone who has been pepper sprayed? I have. It is horrendous and has its own risks but I would be much happier to have a face full of that than a shot with a taser. And it isn't a case of being a do gooder, it is a case of seeing the bigger picture. The police don't want them, I don't want them and from reading this forum, a goodly number of people agree with me. Anti Terrorism laws are already being abused. How long before we have excuses made for over zealous use of tasers? Thin end of the wedge comrades, thin edge of the wedge.

    Dee Luxford

    10 December 2008

    Tazers as an alternative to firearms is one thing and if it means fewer fatalities whilst disarming a person threatening with a weapon then that is preferable as it is a reduction in force used; tazers as an alternative to normal policing which may involve talking down an abusive drunk or even physically restraining someone is not acceptable as this is an escalation of force. The current restriction of tazers to highly trained firearms officers - who also receive ongoing refresher training is the sensible option. Even then they make mistakes. Broadening their availability will massively increase the potential for inappropriate use and the risk of fatality - even if that risk is small.

    Martin Menear
    better than guns!

    10 December 2008

    This country has had police officers kicked to death in riots, not to mention countless numbers being subjected to other forms of violence. I think it's about time these do-gooders realised that our society has its fair share of thugs who dont respond to people being 'nice' to them. If I was being attacked I'd rather have a police officer come to my assistance with a tazer or a gun than a pepper spray and a little stick. They are there to protect the public but also themselves and if individual officer choose to carry them then we should give them our full support. It should certainly come with training and regulation and perhaps the voltage is a little on the high side.

    vicky lee
    where do I begin?

    8 December 2008

    I have a lovely long list of those I would like to see volunteer to test out tasers to show us how 'safe' they really are... joking aside though, here's what worries me... my eldest is 21, 6'3" , lanky and has a penchant for a hooded top. He is also gainfully employed and very well mannered. Were he lives there are fights on a saturday night, much like other towns in the UK... now people can say that if you are doing nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about till the cows come home... I would be enraged if he were 'accidentally' tasered by an enthusiast who had mistaken him for the much hated hoodie... and I have fears that it wouldn't stop there. The police are highly trained in the weapons they already have. They really don't need any more. It is a slippery slope towards guns... and that, I REALLY don't want to see

    Dee Luxford

    8 December 2008

    I agree completely with colleagues that tazers are certainly NOT safe and it is a sad state of affairs that we have a government and a society who are seriously considering increasing the increase in the issue of these absurd devices. I also agree with the excellent suggestion that people in favour of tazers should personally show us how allegedly safe they are.

    Gun Free

    7 December 2008

    Issuing Police officers with tasers is the short end of the wedge to permanently arming all officers. We should be proud that our police force is still largely gun free. Why does this country have to follow blindly everything that the USA does. Such as Iraq, Afgahnastan and the debacle of the mortgage crisis.

    Graeme Paris
    Follow the leader

    5 December 2008

    I have a modest suggestion. Iwill agree to the police having the mass rollout of Tasers on the following condition. Everyone who votes that the police get them, first of all stands front-and-centre and gets zapped, to prove to the rest of us how benign and harmless they really are. That will also give us a good idea of how many paramedics we will need to be on standby.

    Dan Tanzey
    Mostly Harmless

    3 December 2008

    Bear in mind when considering Tasers that they are not necessarily less damaging than other methods - as with any electrical shock the results are highly unpredictable. You *can* survive a lightning strike with no permanent damage, but climbing a steeple in a thunderstorm is still not considered healthy. Taser trivia: Taser stands for Thomas A Swift's Electric Rifle.

    Richard East
    Is this what we have to?

    3 December 2008

    The idea that we have to resort to Tazer guns like the Americans had to is just confirming that we are going down the same route, resorting to violence and dangerous weapons. In my eyes this will simply cause the already rebellious to think up more horrifying and sickening ways to injure or maim. I disagree with the idea that we have to electrocute people to put them in their place, can't we simply just go back to good ol' respect, police are here to keep us safe not zap us into submission!!

    Vicky Nesbitt
    No Tasers

    3 December 2008

    Rather shocked to see the high volume of 'yes' votes on the pie chart for this issue, heartened to read the comments from those who have posted their views. TASERS WILL NOT SOLVE ANYTHING. Society is breaking down (has been for years), the police are underresourced (so are our front line servicemen, so are many back offices). There are many good men and women in the police force who do daily battle with their consciences, we too are public servants and we don't like a lot of what goes on. Collectively every member of society counts, we all have a part to play. This escalating violence cannot be countered by use of the same. I'm not saying I would not use a gun, or a taser, or something else in self defence but that would be my decision, and I would have to take the consequences. Blanket issue of dangerous, immobilising weapons to the police is not the answer. I wonder how many officers will refuse to carry them anyway, and what support the Police Federation can offer those who

    Victoria Priestley

    28 November 2008

    Response to Gavin Kerr: What planet are you on? Putting aside your use of Richard Littlejohn's favourite worn-out cliche 'if you're not doing anything wrong...', the logic of your argument about the acceptance of police power is truly horrifying. You suggest that because we no longer have respect for the police - assuming, which I don't by the way, that they ever had our respect - that gives the government licence to turn this country into a police state, where power is enforced through strength and brutality. It's worth asking that if we have lost respect for the police, is it because they have lost the right to be respected? And why do you assume that introducing what will inevitably turn out to be an unpopular and misused form of deterrent will win that respect back?

    Maria Thomson
    Go for it!

    28 November 2008

    I think they are a good idea - surely if a situation escalates into such that a police officer has to act to stop an individual then tasers would be more appropriate than weapons which cause permanent damage like guns or batons. Also the days are well and truly gone when the poplulation respected and obeyed the police force therefore steps should be taken to enforce their power - if you are not doing anything wrong - why fear the consequences of police action????

    Gavin Kerr

    28 November 2008

    This seems to be a political issue rather than a police issue. The Home Secretary is keen to issue these devices so as to try and show that the government is cracking down on crime and civil disobedience. The majority of the police forces DON'T want these extra tasers at all, and these devices have attracted a lot of controversy by causing a significant number of deaths. Tasers have also been withdrawn from use in other countries where they had been originally introduced.

    Lin Black
    but they don't want them!

    26 November 2008

    From what I have read over the weekend, and I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, the police don't actually want these tazers. To me it smacks of a propaganda exercise so the Govt can be seen to be doing something about the rising crime rate. Maybe they should ask the police what resources they ACTUALLY need before bringing in this high profile type of 'solution'.

    Dee Luxford
    Taser regulation?

    25 November 2008

    In reply to Andrew Erroch, and as a general point, the regulation or otherwise of their use is totally irrelevant. The use of police batons and firearms is regulated and monitored but that doesn't stop these weapons being deployed unjustly. The real fear is that the police would discharge tasers more readily, in the knowledge that they will only temporarily incapacitate rather than kill. The police have a long and continuing history of abuse of power and brutality, particularly on demos and protests. Protesters and photographers have been at the sharp end of these acts - which are supposedly regulated but, in reality, are unchecked and largely go unpunished. So, instead of an arm round the throat, or a baton in the back, they can look forward to 50,000 volts for not jumping when the police say jump.

    Paul Wright
    Police Protection

    25 November 2008

    I think that our Police do need more protection in this day and age when violence in escalating and thugs appear to have no morals or conscience in their actions or even any second thought for their victims. I have seen attacks first hand and they are extremely nasty. I have also been the victim of an unprovoked attack and my scars are plain to see. Taser guns would provide the Police with a suitable deterent and protection when necessary. Surely the use of taser guns would be properly regulated?

    Andrew Erroch
    Police Power

    25 November 2008

    I think the police would abuse their powers look at the Menendes case. They could have shot to injure but no they had to shoot to kill. They always come up with some excuse to justify theirselves but at the end of the day they do abuse their power. How many innocent people will be injured with these tazers ?

    anon anon

    24 November 2008

    The taser gun weapons, which Amnesty International claims have been responsible for 320 deaths in the US, are currently only deployed by specialist firearms officers in the UK. 90% of those killed were shocked multiple times and were not armed. But the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, told the Sunday Times that £8m would be made available to increase the supply of Tasers and train 30,000 police officers to use the 50,000-volt electric guns. Public money would be better spent on health, welfare and education.

    sarah kavanagh
    A step too far

    24 November 2008

    They want to watch us on CCTV, they want to read our emails and now they want to zap us with 40,000 volts. This is a step too far - we are sleepwalking into a police state.

    Micky L
  2. Add new comment

    All comments will be moderated before publication. PCS does not guarantee that all comments will be published. Please see our comments policy for more information.

Tab Bottom

  1. Directory
  2. Contact Us