Educating The People of Scotland

Scotland's Angels

Increase in Police Scotland staff days lost to mental health of 54% in 2020/2021 including significant increase to Police deployed Taser use against children.

Statistics released after a freedom of information request by the Scottish Liberal Democrats show 166,580 days were lost since 2019-20 as a result of “psychological disorders”.

The category takes into account staff or officers who are off with alcohol problems, anxiety, bereavement reaction, bipolar, debility, dementia, depression, insomnia, other psychological disorders, post-natal depression, post-traumatic stress, schizophrenia and stress, according to Police Scotland.

Police Scotland keeping people safe, including the paramount wellbeing of the child.

A recent article by Marion Scott in the Scottish Sunday Post titled Scots police taser children as young as 12 as outcry grows stated that Scots police have tasered two children in the last nine months as the number of times officers drew the weapons on under-18s doubled.

Scotland’s Children and Young People’s Commissioner said it was unacceptable for tasers to be used against children and called for the practice to be banned.

Bruce Adamson said he will be raising the issue with the national force, and said: “It is unacceptable for a child to be tasered, or to be threatened with a taser by police. Tasers are potentially lethal and inflict severe pain which creates significant risk for children.

“Human rights bodies, including the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, have long called on Scotland to ban the use of tasers on children, highlighting the serious risk of physical and psychological harm.

“We remain concerned about tasers’ use in situations where there may be more effective and safer ways to de-escalate high-pressured situations. In 2021, the UN asked for an update on Scotland’s progress on implementing a ban so it is concerning that we are still seeing tasers used on children.”

Children’s charities echoed the concern. Joanne Smith, NSPCC Scotland policy and public affairs manager, said: “The continued use of tasers on under-18s is deeply concerning.

“It is in opposition to international children’s rights standards. United Nations bodies have repeatedly called for a ban on their use on children, highlighting the serious risk of the physical and psychological harm they pose.

“Earlier this year, the UNCRC Committee asked for an update from the UK Government on what it was doing to prohibit taser use against children.

The number of times tasers were used in incidents involving children in 2019 was 11. In 2020, it was 12. Last year, the number of incidents more than doubled to 25. Five of the children involved were girls. The youngest was 12.

Currently only 530 specially-trained officers – around 3% of frontline officers – are allowed to carry tasers but chief ­constable Iain Livingstone wants that to rise to 15% under £3m three-year expansion plans to arm another 1,700 officers.

In a country where we have police officers seriously assaulting, intimidating and threatening and arresting civilians ultra vires, one must ask with the increase in psychological disorders including schizophrenia, bi polar and addictions which can seriously impair a judgement call, per our previous article Police Scotland CED (Taser) use increase of 57% in one year, at should sanctioned authoriation for non fire armed officers in local policing who will ‘routinely deploy’ the Taser X2 device be given?

Especially when unarmed children are having 50,000 volts shot into their brain and body. Yet The incidents involving the firing of tasers were referred to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner who decided their use was appropriate and proportionate.

It said the use of tasers on children has been discussed in detail, adding:

“Members set a clear expectation that devices are only ever used by specially trained officers and have consistently sought assurance from Police Scotland that use is proportionate, justifiable and used only as the last resort, including when use is considered on an individual perceived as being under 18.”

We the public require more than a clear expection, we need solid checks and balances of the the use and deployment of these weapons on any civilian. No more shiny velvet coated semantics that conceal the veracity of what these thugs are doing on the front line.

However a recent FOI disclosure clearly states that non fire armed officers in local policing will ‘routinely deploy’ the Taser X2 device.

Oliver Sprague, Amnesty International UK’s security and police director, said:

“These figures are extremely concerning. We need full transparency about Police Scotland’s use of tasers against children, and an explanation as to why such extreme measures have been used in these incidents.

“The UK Government’s scientific and medical guidance has found that there’s a much greater risk of using a taser against young people which includes long-term psychological impacts.

“Therefore, in line with Scotland’s international obligations to protect the rights of children and young people, we are again calling for a presumption against the use of taser on children which would limit any deployment to truly exceptional life-threatening situations.

“Unless the police explain the exact circumstances around why children as young as 12 were subjected to taser, it’s impossible to tell if these incidents met the threshold of using the weapon as a last resort to prevent loss of life.

“However, it’s absolutely the responsibility of the police to make sure they’re using tasers in the right circumstances and not using excessive force against children.

“The lack of accountability and information will do little to reassure the public that Police Scotland are not using tasers in breach of their international obligations.”