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Police / Tasers ‘used’ six times since introduction few years ago

Photo: Shetland News

TASERS have been ‘used’ six times by the police in Shetland since they were introduced in the isles a few years ago.

A freedom of information request from Shetland News shows that on five occasions they were used by a specially trained officer, and once by an authorised firearm officer.

However, the term ‘used’ covers varying actions ranging from simply removing it from a holster to firing it into a person.

Tasers are designed to temporarily disable a person through an electrical current.

Officers in the Scottish islands began being trained in the use of tasers in 2018, and Shetland’s then MSP Tavish Scott felt it was like “city policing being imposed in the islands”.

But speaking before their introduction isles police chief Lindsay Tulloch said tasers were there to “de-escalate a situation, and to use it is the very last resort”.

Speaking about the latest figures, superintendent Alan Wright said: “Our priority at all times is the safety of the public and the safety of our officers who are attending incidents, often not knowing what they’ll face.

“Violence and the use of weapons is an issue across Scotland and island communities are not immune.

“Police officers interact with members of the public a huge number of times every single day and the number of taser deployments is tiny in proportion.

“Officers who carry them receive comprehensive training in the use and safe keeping of the taser and there is a focus on dealing with vulnerable people and identifying risks to ensure that the deployment of taser is proportionate and safe.

“The use of force, including tasers, in any situation will depend on a unique set of circumstances and deploying use of force tactics will be based on a variety of factors. It is only deployed when absolutely necessary in order to keep the public, and emergency service workers, safe.

“A taser officer’s priority is to de-escalate incidents and often, the mere presence of a taser is enough to achieve this and more often than not officers do not need to deploy their taser.”