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Stun Guns: Children

Volume 497: debated on Thursday 15 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what safety assessment his Department has conducted on the use of taser guns and attenuating energy projectiles in relation to children; and if he will make a statement. (291937)

The Home Office Scientific Development Branch have produced three reports evaluating Taser devices. We have also submitted the use of Taser according to Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) guidance to an independent group of medical advisers—DOMILL (Defence Scientific Advisory Council (DSAC) Sub-committee on the Medical Implications of Less-lethal Weapons).

DOMILL has issued five statements on the medical implications of the use of the Taser. Its view is that the risk of death or serious injury from the use of Tasers within ACPO Guidance and Policy is very low. The fourth DOMILL statement identified children and adults of smaller stature as being at potentially greater risk from the cardiac effects of Taser currents than normal adults of average or large stature. The ACPO guidance to officers highlights this point.

ACPO guidance on the use of Attenuated Energy Projectile (AEP) states that every effort should be made to ensure that children are not placed at risk by the firing of baton rounds in public order situations. The guidance is also clear that deployment of AEP in a public order situation must be restricted to use against clearly identified individuals who are presenting a threat which must be countered.

Medical evaluation of the AEP by DOMILL concluded that the risk of serious and life-threatening injury to the head is less than that from its predecessor the L21A1 Baton Round, which already had a low risk of such injury.