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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Policing the use of tasers

February 28, 2009
Globe and Mail

Your editorial calling for civilian authorities "to follow the lead of the RCMP and write narrower rules for taser use" (Dangerously Blank Slates - editorial, Feb. 25) did not acknowledge the position of the Canadian Association of Police Boards.

CAPB is the national association for civilian oversight bodies of municipal police services. Public interest and confidence requires that police leaders, civilian and uniform, set a high standard for the use of conducted energy weapons. Police authority derives from, and is legitimate because civilian authority empowers policing authority, including the use of force. It does not work the other way around.

We've called for a national working group of stakeholders to review best practices with a view to developing national standards, including clear policies, internal reporting mechanisms and public accountability for the use of such weapons by municipal police services.

Standard reporting is needed regarding the various types of uses of force, any serious consequences, circumstances in which force was used, complaints, and disposition of conduct issues. This would be a useful tool for police services, boards and commissions to hold themselves accountable to the public in regard to an aspect of policing that has drawn much public scrutiny.

president, Canadian Association of Police Boards

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