SHOULD we be concerned at the police’s use of non-lethal weapons such as Tasers?

Amnesty International has renewed calls for greater regulation of Taser use after the T&A revealed the weapons have been used in Bradford 405 times in six years.

The pressure group wants better training for officers and a policy of only using Tasers in life-threatening situations.

For anyone who doesn’t know, a Taser is an electrical device which fires twin prongs capable of delivering a 50,000 volt electric shock. In most – but not all – cases a suspect who has been Tasered is incapacitated.

Being shot by a Taser is certainly preferable to being shot by a firearm. Provided the person being Tasered doesn’t have an underlying health condition the incapacitating effects are usually temporary.

However, there are dangers. Some cardiologists have warned that a stun gun shot to the chest could induce a cardiac arrest.

Police use of Tasers has actually fallen in Bradford – down from 107 instances in 2012, to 55 last year – and in many cases the weapons were drawn but not discharged.

We take comfort in the knowledge that West Yorkshire Police has robust policies in place for Taser use and every officer trained to use them is accountable for his or her actions.

Police officers face far greater dangers today than at any time in the past 100 years. They deserve the best equipment to protect themselves and the wider public.

As an alternative to routinely issuing firearms to police we think Tasers are the lesser of two evils.