Alex Massie

Death by Taser: Coming to a Street Near You

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Meanwhile, in other police news, Coppers in Birmingham are being armed with Tasers as a matter of course. Until recently, only firearms officers were so equipped. Sadly, this means that it's only a matter of time before someone is killed by one of these things. That's what happens when you start flinging 50,000 volt charges about.

This isn't a question of if but of when. It will happen. What's more, I strongly suspect that handing more weaponsĀ  - even of the supposedly non-lethal type - actually makes everyone less safe. When the police are encouraged to think of themselves as paramilitaries then we shouldn't be surprised when they start acting in a thuggish fashion. We aren't nearly as far down this road as they are in the United States of course but we're headed in the same direction. An armed police force is a dangerous police force.

And look, last weekend brought news of a Canadian man killed by a Taser in Vancouver. Again, one suspects that arming the police encourages a disproportionate and unacceptable level of force.

But aren't Tasers preferable to guns? Well, yes. But so what? What consolation will that be to the families of British victims?

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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