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Islington town hall blasts police over controversial stun guns

PUBLISHED: 06:41 01 February 2013

The electroshock weapon is sold by US company Taser International. Picture: PA/Rui Vieira.

The electroshock weapon is sold by US company Taser International. Picture: PA/Rui Vieira.

PA/EMPICS

Town hall chiefs have blasted police for arming officers with tasers and called for a consultation before the potentially lethal weapons hit the streets.

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety says the decision not to ask the public if they want the stun guns is either “conspiracy or cock-up”.

From Thursday, up to 40 officers will be armed with the controversial weapon in the borough, which will shoot out 50,000 volts when fired, as part of a London-wide roll-out of the controversial weapons.

But Cllr Convery said the first the council heard about it was in a phone call last week.

He said: “I was startled. We are concerned, anxious and have grave doubts about tasers and we are very, very disappointed the police didn’t do their legal and moral duty to ask people about this.

“These are potentially lethal weapons on the streets of the borough and they have kept very quiet about it.

“This has come right from the top brass and I don’t know if the secrecy is conspiracy or cock-up. I suspect the latter – but I am not going to let them off the hook.”

Specially trained officers will carry the stun guns in situations involving violence or potential violence – but the supposedly non-lethal weapons have been involved in at least one high profile fatality.

Cllr Convery added: “These weapons can kill. And I don’t buy the argument that truncheons can also be lethal. To kill someone with a truncheon you have to use a terrific amount of force.

“With a taser it’s just a matter of pushing a button a couple times. We are extremely apprehensive when they get out of hand. Someone died when a taser was fired on him four times. The officers need to know if it doesn’t have the desired effect the first time – stop zapping.”

He, along with Cllr Catherine West, leader of Islington Council, has written to the borough commander and the commissioner of the Met to ask them to re-think the use of the guns.

He said: “We want them to press pause and have a proper consultation. We said ‘please, please don’t do this - we support you in many ways, support us in this.

“I don’t know if it will be successful, but we have to try.”


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