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Martina Anderson has questioned the validity of Taser claim by the PSNI

1 September, 2008

Martina Anderson has questioned the validity of Taser claim by the PSNI

Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has questioned the validity of the claim by the PSNI that a hostage type situation was the instigation of the use of a Taser on a Derry man.

Ms Anderson said,

"The PSNI have stated that they would only use Tasers as a less than lethal alternative in potential life threatening situations yet I would question the validity of this claim given the incident in Derry where the PSNI used the weapon for the first time.

"I would question whether the PSNI were obliged to use force as an absolute necessity and believe that the PSNI used excessive force to resolve the domestic incident between Declan Smith and his partner.

"Prior to the summer recess papers were lodged in the High Court seeking leave for a judicial review against the use of Tasers in the North. Despite the Chief Constable being fully aware of being the named respondent he preceded to use Tasers rather than wait for the outcome of the hearing before deploying the weapon. This was a cheap and cynical attempt to railroad the use of Tasers into the PSNI armoury with total disregard for the authority of the court.

"The PSNI acted in a calculated and cavalier manner and it appears that this incident was an attempt to disprove the capability gap that the Human Rights advisers had said existed in his argument for the use of tasers. The capability gap being the weapon of choice for a specific situation.

"There is no doubt that a domestic incident arose however the PSNI response was excessive and outside the guidelines that Hugh Orde promised the Policing Board if Tasers were to be deployed.

"I am also deeply concerned at the post medical care procedures where none of the Doctors or nurses in Altnagelvin knew how to remove the barbs from the Tasers that were still lodged in Declan's chest. The medical team had to respond by getting the PSNI assault team to attend the hospital to remove the barbs. This calls into question how medically qualified these people are in removing these barbs from this man's chest. CRÍOCH

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