You may have arrived here via a direct link to a specific post. To see the most recent posts, click HERE.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

RCMP response to Taser report inadequate

February 12, 2009

OTTAWA - The RCMP continues to ignore recommendations made by a Parliamentary committee on Tasers even though they now admit that Tasers can cause death, said Liberal Public Safety and National Security Critic MP Mark Holland today.

“The Commissioner admitted that Tasers can cause death, especially in cases where they are fired on ‘acutely agitated’ individuals,” said Mr. Holland. “While the RCMP has revised some of its practices on Taser use, the Commissioner’s remarks signal that there are still serious concerns that have not been addressed.”

Mr. Holland was responding to comments made by RCMP Commissioner William Elliott when he appeared before the House of Commons Public Safety and National Security Committee today. This was the first time the RCMP has publicly responded to the committee’s recommendations published eight months ago.

The June 2008 report on Tasers made a number of recommendations including the reclassification of the Taser as an “impact weapon,” and recognizing the void in the research on conducted energy weapons, called for independent scientific peer-reviewed studies on Taser gun safety to be undertaken immediately.

“The RCMP is relying on a few US studies on Tasers, only one of which is peer-reviewed,” said Mr. Holland. “It is simply not acceptable to use a weapon when its effects are not fully understood.”

Neither the RCMP nor the Conservative government has undertaken a domestic study on Tasers, and only conducted testing on their own Taser supply after the CBC reported that testing they had commissioned showed some Tasers emitted more energy than the manufacturer specified.

Also concerning was the Commissioner’s admission that the RCMP does not have a policy for the use of Tasers on minors.

“This is a very disturbing development, as we don’t know the effects of Taser use on the young,” noted Mr. Holland. “Everyone from Amnesty International to the Ontario Child Advocate has condemned this practice, but the RCMP has said they will continue using Tasers on minors.”

No comments: