David Davies, the Conservative MP for Monmouth, today poured cold water on an Amnesty International report due to be published tomorrow, which calls for an outlawing of tasers. The report, which Mr. Davies describes as “misleading”, cites 150 deaths that have been recorded in the United States and have been associated with taser use.
Speaking from Monmouth today, David said, “Contrary to the viewpoint that Amnesty are trying to put across, a taser is in fact an extremely effective but entirely non-lethal instrument for rendering dangerous criminals temporarily incapable of attack.
“Amnesty’s figures, which suggest that 150 deaths can be attributed to the usage of tasers in the United States, are remarkably one-sided on two counts. Firstly, the deaths they refer to usually stem from the subjects having taken drugs, and secondly they do not factor in the amount of lives that have been saved because police have been able to safely disarm a dangerous criminal without causing any lasting injury.
“Officers in the UK are frequently sent to confront people who are brandishing knives, and even firearms, and they are usually required to use their batons to deal with the situation. Whereas the use of batons can result in serious injury, in should be remembered that if a taser is used the person who it is used on will feel pain for around four seconds only, and will quickly recover without need for any further treatment, having sustained no long term injury whatsoever.
“This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that many policemen will have been “zapped” by a taser to demonstrate the power of the instrument, but there is no possibility of being beaten by a baton to demonstrate its potency. It seems to me then that tasers are a good alternative not only to firearms but also to batons and should be considered accordingly.
“As a member and supporter of Amnesty International I am disappointed that they have not, in this case, presented the facts in a fair and objective manner and feel that there is a very strong argument for arming the nation’s police with these effective and highly useful instruments.”