London

Met Police officers fired Tasers at 'youths and elderly'

British police officer armed with a Taser Image copyright PA
Image caption In 2013 and 2014, the Met used Tasers in 4,105 incidents

Tasers have been fired at 14-year-olds and aimed at elderly people over 80 by Met Police officers, figures show.

Officers have also targeted but not fire Tasers at 13-year-olds, Freedom of Information statistics requested by the Greater London Authority (GLA) Conservatives show.

The Tories said officers should use cameras connected to their Tasers to protect "the most vulnerable".

The Met said recent figures had showed a reduction in the use of Tasers.

Andrew Boff, leader of the GLA Conservatives, has called for officers to start using new body-worn cameras on their uniforms that are designed to activate automatically when the Taser is taken from its holster.

'Questionable use'

The Los Angeles Police Department already use cameras to record Taser incidents and the Met Police are currently trialling body cameras across 10 London boroughs, but they a not activated when Tasers are used.

Mr Boff said Tasers were "an important tool in public safety," but without context their use on the elderly or children was "questionable."

He said: "Body-worn cameras triggered by the use of the Taser would capture the events leading to a needed intervention.

"They have been shown to increase accountability whilst reducing complaints, protecting both police officers and the most vulnerable in society."

Tasers fire two darts with a five-second, 50,000-volt charge, which can temporarily disable its target.

The Met's website states the devices have been used by specially trained officers as an additional option to manage situations where violence is threatened or likely from a safe distance.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Tasers fire two darts with a five-second, 50,000-volt charge, which can temporarily disable its target

The Freedom of Information data obtained by Mr Boff showed in 2013 and 2014, Tasers were:

  • Fired at 11 people over 60
  • Aimed at a further 29 people over 60 - including two 85-year-olds
  • Fired at two 14-year-olds
  • Aimed at 13 youths aged 13 or 14-years-old

'Largest trial'

In 2013 and 2014, the Met used Tasers in 4,105 incidents, including firing them 503 times, according to figures.

The Met said the most recent Home Office figures showed there had been a reduction of 11.7% in the use of them.

The figures from October 2014 said Tasers had been fired 992 times from January to June 2014, compared to 1124 times from July to December 2013.

A Met Police spokesman added: "The MPS currently has in the region of 1,000 body-worn video cameras deployed as part of a year-long pilot. This is thought to be the world's largest trial."

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