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Thursday, March 26, 2009

RCMP's Taser use declines: Report

OTTAWA — Taser use by RCMP officers decreased significantly over the past year, says a report released Thursday.

The analysis, compiled by Paul E. Kennedy, the chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, revealed a shift in use of the weapon in 2008, especially when compared to the statistics from the year before, when usage was at its highest. Overall, the decrease amounted to a 30 per cent drop which suggested the Taser was being used more as a deterrent than as an actual weapon.

"Overall, I am encouraged by the decrease of Taser usage and increased restraint shown by RCMP members in the field," said Kennedy.

The findings were supposed to be included as part of a broader report on the use of energy weapons by the Mounties to be released next week, but Kennedy decided to release it early suggesting it could have a "significant bearing" on the debate surrounding the use of the controversial weapon.

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