The investigation into ‘disproportionate’ use of Tasers on black individuals continues – the UK Taser lead
The UK policing lead on Tasers says he has “trust” in the weapon and “strong” officer training, but admits there is more work to be done to understand why it is used “disproportionately” against black individuals.
According to the latest Home Office figures, black individuals are eight times more likely than white people to have a Taser deployed on them by police, based on a review of all 43 police forces in England and Wales.
A Birmingham Crown Court jury convicted 43-year-old West Mercia police constable Benjamin Monk of the manslaughter of former Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson on Wednesday, bringing Taser use in the black community into sharp light.
It polarizes public opinion, and I am well aware of this.
According to Inquest, which aids the bereaved following state-related deaths, this is considered to be the first occasion in modern British criminal justice history that a UK police officer has been found guilty of the manslaughter of a black man.
Since 1986, no police officer has been found guilty of murder or manslaughter in England and Wales for a death in custody or following police contact, according to the charity.
Monk, 43, was accused of using a Taser three times in August 2016 at his father’s home in Meadow Close, Telford, including a single 33-second discharge, and leaving two bootlace prints on Atkinson’s forehead during a six-week trial.
Monk’s colleague, Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, was accused of hitting Dalian Atkinson with a baton after he was tasered to the ground, and jurors were excused from making a decision on Thursday.
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“(max-width: 767px) 89vw, 89vw, 89vw, 89vw, 89vw, 89vw (max-width: 1000px) Dalian Atkinson in 1991, 54vw, (max-width: 1071px) 543px, 580px”> (PA)
Meanwhile, Lucy D’Orsi, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) director for less lethal weapons, said it was “absolutely right” for frontline officers who use Tasers to have it in their toolkit.
The NPCC and the College of Policing initiated a 12-month Independent Review into Disproportionate Effects of Use of in January 2021. (This is a brief piece.)