We need to talk about tasers

Donald Burgess is the latest Briton to die after being hit by a police taser. He won’t be the last, but the circumstances of his death underscore the need for a wider debate about conducted energy devices. Police were called to a care home in St Leonards-on-Sea on 21 June, where they found Burgess threatening staff with a knife. One officer sprayed him with PAVA, an incapacitant spray that the National Police Chiefs’ Council describes as ‘significantly more potent than CS’. The same officer then struck Burgess with a baton while another discharged a taser, sending an electric current coursing through the man’s neuromuscular system. He was then handcuffed and

What Unicef doesn’t understand about police and tasers

Use of force isn’t like the movies. It’s often messy, frightening and it can go sideways very quickly. I vividly remember my first arrest as a volunteer police officer, surrounded by jeering teenagers in a seaside amusement arcade wrestling on the ground with a completely non-compliant powerfully built kid. When we eventually got the cuffs on him, it turned out he was deaf and most of his resistance was because he couldn’t understand my repeated attempts to negotiate with him.  As head of security at HMP Wandsworth, I recall standing in the centre supervising an entirely correct and proportionate restraint and relocation of a prisoner. All the staff were white. The