Tasers hit Islington’s streets today – meanwhile anger erupts after council top brass snub meeting about weapon
PUBLISHED: 15:35 07 February 2013 | UPDATED: 10:40 08 February 2013
Anger erupted on Tuesday after the town hall’s top brass snubbed a meeting about arming police with a controversial stun gun – which hit the streets today.
Islington Council’s ruling executive loudly condemned the plan to arm officers with Tasers – capable of pumping 50,000 volts into their target – but none of them attended a public hearing with police to discuss the scheme.
Up to 40 of the borough’s officers will be carrying the weapon as part of a London-wide roll out.
The only council representative at he meeting was Cllr Greg Foxsmith, from the opposition Lib Dem group, who called on the police to keep tight reins on Taser use – including helmet-mounted cameras.
He said: “Members of the public expressed surprise and dismay that not a single member of the well-paid executive attended the meeting.
“My impression is that the Labour leadership have no ideas and no interest in crime other than CCTV, which they seem to think is a £2million pound magic wand that will end crime overnight.
“Because of that obsession, they have taken their eye off the ball, and applied no scrutiny to the significant changes to real policing taking place under their noses.”
Earlier this week, Cllr Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said the first he had heard about the deployment of the Tasers was during a phone call with police last week.
But at the meeting, Borough Commander Det Ch Supt Gerry Campbell said the plan had been in place since September.
Cllr Foxsmith added: “I wonder, do they meet at all and if so, what do they discuss?
“There had clearly been a lack of dialogue between the police and council.”
Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “It wasn’t our meeting to go to as such - it was a for the public. Myself and Catherine West had met the Borough Commander the day before. I also didn’t want it to be the kind of meeting where I am grand-standing or getting egged on to make our point, which could have happened.
If people want to know out position on tasers, they need to read the local papers.”
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