South Yorkshire Police Federation in disagreement with calls for Taser not to be used on under 18s

The chairman of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation is questioning calls for Taser not to be used on under 18s.

By Claire Lewis
Friday, 11th December 2020, 11:56 am
Updated Friday, 11th December 2020, 5:07 pm

A recently released Unicef UK report suggested Taser and spit-hoods were ‘increasingly being used by police forces on children’ and recommended they were banned.

But Steve Kent, chairman of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation, said those making such suggestions should spend some time with officers on the frontline.

He said they face dangers from ‘people of all ages’.

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South Yorkshire Police Federation chairman Steve Kent.

“Taser trained officers go through rigorous training to make sure Taser is used appropriately,” he said.

“Perhaps some of the people behind these bizarre and naive sentiments could spend some time on the frontline of policing and see the dangers officers face from people of all ages.”

John Apter, the national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, also said critics of the use of Taser need to ‘live in the real world.’

Mr Apter said: “I completely understand the sentiment involved in this discussion because this is a highly emotive issue. However, police officers have to police in the real world and that can be a violent and hostile place.

“The harsh reality is some ‘children’ are dangerous individuals, and we’ve seen this time and time again with under 18s being convicted for very serious offences including GBH, attempted murder and murder.

“My colleagues have to deal with this, often being injured in the process. I make no apology for doing everything I can so my colleagues can properly defend themselves and the public.”

According to government figures, Taser was used in 23,000 incidents in one year to March 2019 but devices were not discharged in 85 per cent of incidents.

“While I completely understand that, for some Taser is contentious, it has proven itself on numerous occasions to save lives of both police officers and members of the public. This is why I feel so strongly that Taser is an essential piece of equipment which police officers should have access to, if they want to,” said Mr Apter.

“Policing is dangerous and unpredictable, and my colleagues deserve to have whatever protection they can to look after themselves and the public.”