back to article UK kiddies cop a righteous tasering

The Liberal Democrats are a tad worried that the UK is sliding inexorably into a US-style law enforcement pit where the merest hint of insurrection is countered by a robust tasering - even if it means delivering electro-justice to wide-eyed kiddies. According to shock figures "revealed in a Parliamentary answer", the facts are …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternative to Arming the Police

    Maybe giving the police Tasers is a bad thing, but I think the alternative is that the police would routinely carry guns. The current climate seems to be that by hook or crook the police are going to get more & more tools in their armoury, lethal & non-lethal. So I doubt there's any consideration of not arming them with something. It is also likely they'll get unmanned drones as well to monitor to UK mainland as well (cheaper than helicopters). We're heading down the US route with an increasing tendency to paramilitarise law enforcement. So expect to see more armoured riot squads & Robcops deployed on a regular basis.

  2. Roger Lancefield

    Get ready for regular gratuitous electrocution of citizens

    The American experience has shown that Tasers, rather than being employed as a replacement for lethal force, are instead most commonly used as augmentation for batons. We will see thousands of cases where Tasers were used not to protect police officers from gun-wielding crims, but to control and meter out extra-judicial punishment-by-electrocution for citizens who officers find noisy, unruly or simply those that they find irritating.

    Here's a wonderful early example from last year:

    "Police accused of firing Taser into head of innocent man"

    I'm willing to bet that there will be *plenty* more where this came from.

    I attended the NUJ rally outside new Scotland Yard last week, and given the stories I heard from journalists and photographers about police behaviour at the "Climate Camp" last year, it's just as well (for those protesting) that they weren't armed with Tasers then.

    I hope that the use of Tasers will be one of the issues that is highlighted at this weekend's Convention on Modern Liberty.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    According to shock figures...

    Oh god. Knowing you, I bet you did that on purpose too.

    Now I'm as happy to see some chav sprog do the Funky Volt Dance as the next man but, correct me if I'm wrong, weren't tasers to be used only instead of firearms?

    Were these kids to be shot otherwise?

    So we can now expect plod to light-up suspects whenever they feel they might break a fingernail?

    "We are plod of Borg, resistance is futile, you will be electrificated."

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Irrespective of the authors comments...

    ...there are some kids roaming our towns who will only respond to threatened, or actual, violence.

    These feral children feel that there is not action that can be taken against them, there are no limits on their behaviour & they are 'owed' the celebrity lifestyle they see in Hello et al (without the 30 years of training & work to earn it of course.)

    While I personnally believe that most of our current lot of constables are out of control thugs, they have the right to protect themselves against violence. The problem is that they tend to hide the mistakes they make when using force and are aided in this by their superiors.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Comparison with the US

    Thats 2,222 people "exposed to taser" in 20 months ~ 1200/year out of population of 60million. And given figures for children may be only 25% of these were actually tased. So thats about 5 tasings per year per million.

    When I was living in Silicon Valley 10 years ago there was some concern when in San Jose (pop ~1 million) Police had shot *dead* 14 people in first 8 months of a year - issue waa that 14 was the normal average number for a year and while that seemed to be considered "acceptable" there was some concern that heading towards 20 for the full year might be a bit too much.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NuLabour, is *NOT* NuNazi's

    In Nazi Germany they didn't have CCTV and Taser. And we don't has gas chambers that we know of, and hardly ever torture people and our wars are smaller, also their leader had one ball and ours had one eye.

    So nothing like Nazi germany at all. Fish and chips vs strudel and schnitzel, absolutely nothing like Nazi germany.

    Nazi electro shock was to the BRAIN, not the body, COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!

    Also Andrew Orlowski isn't man made, some Japanese scientists expressed the need to research more before coming to that conclusion.

  7. Tanuki


    Why am I thinking that - in order to reduce their 'carbon footprint' - the police should be required to use solar-powered Tasers.

    (these would of course be about as 'threatening' as requiring someone to lick the terminals of a PP3 9-volt battery).

    Coat? the one with the carbon-loaded electrically-conducting lining and the attached ground-wires..

  8. Matt

    for 'children' read 'street urchin'

    Tasers eh? Personally I won't like some vacuous copper to fire one into my head but really these 'children' will be the same street urchins we'd all love to shoot with a taser.

    One rule for us, another for the underclass.

  9. simbr
    Black Helicopters

    "shock figures"

    I see what you did there..

  10. Dave Bell


    Those figures are worrying, but how did the number of Tasers carried change?

    And "children" includes people who can lawfully marry.

    (My grandfather took out a machine-gun nest, but he insisted on using a Mills Bomb, so they only gave him a Military Medal.)

  11. Ian
    Thumb Down


    One problem here is that "children" means under 18. So, no distinction between a 17 years, 360 days old gang member in an inner city, pulling an Uzi on a cop who just surprised him breaking into a car, and a 10 year old who just ran up to a cop and said "bum" because his mates dared him to.

    Personally I don't think "child" should apply to someone old enough to marry, drive, join the army...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And how many were relieved of their knives

    Just a quick search found the following recent articles:

    "Plymouth police yesterday displayed the collection of weapons and revealed that the total taken off the streets within the last two months was more than 300"

    "1,445 Number of knives taken off streets of London in past three months"

    These are typical of the numbers in ONE TOWN over a period of MONTHS. Then the number of tazings for the COUNTRY over a YEAR is tiny.

    Yes, there is a small risk of serious injury or death from a tazer, but then there is also a risk from the batons the police carry and cars they drive.

  13. pootman

    Catch them young.

    Here in Scotland the taser is essential, because it's illegal to smack children under the age of three.

  14. Michael Baines
    Thumb Up

    That's forward thinking for a modern Britain!

    "What these kids need is a solid tasering, a lick o' the cat and a touch of the birch followed by an isolation cell in borstal and a couple of years in the army. Mark my words: It's the only language they understand."


  15. RichardB

    V US?

    So you are saying that its fine that we have gone from having one of the most liberal, respectable and downplayed police forces in the world to having electric shock torture meted out on the street on suspicion - its all ok because its not as bad as in the US? Hey, its not as bad as Iran or Iraq either.

    The destruction under this government of our traditional way of life is disgusting. The people that pander to it are scum.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Taser the parents

    That should get them to keep their brats in line!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    "Maybe giving the police Tasers is a bad thing, but I think the alternative is that the police would routinely carry guns ..."

    1) Tasers aren't effective against guns because guns have a longer range than tasers. This is one reason why you don't fight snipers with tasers.

    2) Policemen have traditionally had recourse to a whopping-great stick aka a truncheon. What's the problem with using this instead of a tazer?

    3) I don't know how old you are, but if you're about my age you'll clearly remember policemen using long-range devices known as "plastic bullets" in Ireland during the Troubles. AFAIK these devices are still in the police armoury.


    4) "These feral children" ... thanks for taking the time out of your day to stop reading the Daily Bile and type its views into your web-browser. I wonder: do you even know what the word 'feral' means? If you do, why not use one of its synonyms instead of just repeating the same phrase everyone else uses - it would show at least _some_ independence of thought outside the BileBrain.

    "...there are some kids roaming our towns who will only respond to threatened, or actual, violence."

    There are some adults like this as well, and its amazing how many ordinary people act this way when approached by some shouty-arse nob in a uniform who hasn't got the slightest intention of explaining his actions to them, despite being a public _servant_.

    If had a servant who acted that way I'd sack him.

  18. Richard


    So how come this story doesn't get the judicious use of the word "Orwellian" like El Reg is prone to do regarding any story concerning Google Eyeball Substitute^H^H^H^H^H^Street View ?

    I contact one of the authors with a very long message requesting clarification on this, but no reply yet. Seems The Register is only interested in misusing words rather than reporting the truth......

    -- Richard

  19. FlatSpot

    Police 2.0

    What is everybody smoking these days?? Stabbings etc have been going on since the dawn of time, but just because there are a few Daily Mail stories exclaiming that every kid in Britain carries a knife, smokes drugs and shots people we now have the Police tooled up, zapping people.

    Every taser should be fitted with a camera and every discharge should be logged and open for review on PoliceTube.

    Then we vote on the clips and those where the cop blatantly popped one off because he had his other hand full with a burger should be sacked.


  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Comparison with the US

    What's your point?

  21. Dark Ian

    "But what about the kids?"

    I say tazer the lot of them. We should organise van loads of armed officers (they can have a bright yellow van if it helps) to be dispatched to problem areas. The van doors burst open, the officers are deployed and begin a ruthless tazer fest, targeting yobs and drug peddlers.

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Anonymous Coward

    I prefer the lethal method

    the re-offence rate for shot suspects is much less than for tasered / nannied suspects.

    Better a few innocents die each year by methods other than drunk drivers / drive by shootings / NHS blunders / texting lords etc than the current reoffending rate of killers / rapists / kiddie fidlers backed by state aid and do gooder nimby's from the lawlords

  24. Luis Ogando

    Come on!

    Whether or not you think the Police are thugs the 'poor defenceless kiddies' have only themselves to blame. I've seen them (as have many others, I'm sure) mouthing off at Officers, giving them the 'come on' and acting the big shot. They do this because they KNOW they can do it. After all, who is going to stop them? Nobody. It's against the law to prevent a youngster/minor/child from misbehaving.

    And, technically, if you do something because you feel your victim is defenseless, this classes as bullying. Simple as that. Taser the friggin' lot of 'em. Let's see how Kingpin they feel when they're street-dancing on the end of a Voltgiver! Perhaps then they'll learn to stop, listen and show a little respect.

  25. Niall


    Scumbag yoofs reading Hello? That, I've got to see.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    We need more tasering not less...

    The term "child", while technically accurate, is very misleading when applied to the strapping young savages the police are confronted with today. They may be mentally immature (and many adults stay that way) but they can be physically very powerful. In such circumstances, their immaturity renders them even more dangerous than an adult of similar force. It's like giving a gun to a kid.

    In the good old days a copper (or bobby) would give a young lout a bloody good truncheoning but when the young lout is 6'5" and built like a brick shit-house those methods are less applicable. The taser is a fantastic gadget and should be used liberally.

  27. RobE

    Other information

    Rather than looking at the number tasered one time only we could compare the number of those that were tasered with the number of times they re-offend vs. those that were not tasered who re offended...... I wonder how much of an effect Tasering really has in *actually* getting these poorly behaved citizens to learn that what they are doing is wrong. My guess is the figure for re-offence over the next 5-10 years will show tasered criminals are over 50% less likely to re-offend.

    I agree with what a previous commentor wrote: "The problem is that they [the police] tend to hide the mistakes they make when using force and are aided in this by their superiors". This is best demonstrated in the case of Jean Charles de Menezes, in which the truth was revealed over 1 (2?,3?) years later. It was an absolute disgrace, however we need not to forget he was in Britain illegally. Now two wrongs don't make a right, *but* (as was written in another article on el Reg about texting and driving), it was "an avoidable situation". Chances are if he wasn't here illegally he probably wouldn't have been shot dead, at point blank (...several times).

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Good solid tasering!

    "What these kids need is a solid tasering, a lick o' the cat and a touch of the birch followed by an isolation cell in borstal and a couple of years in the army. Mark my words: It's the only language they understand."

    Can I vote for you as Prime Minister? If you're not Scottish too, every box is ticked!

  29. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Orwellian?

    Sooooo... you're having a go at us for something we haven't done? Do you work for the government perchance? Ahahahaha!


  30. Smallbrainfield

    My grandfather took out a machine gun nest,

    ... but she ran off with an american servicemen. Bloody Yanks....

    Coppers that I know can't wait to get their hands on tasers. But only because they want to come home in one piece after their shift.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    RE: Catch them young

    @pootman "Here in Scotland the taser is essential, because it's illegal to smack children under the age of three."

    Yep, it's illegal to GIVE smack to children as well but if we didn't do it, the economy of Glasgow and Dundee would grind to a halt. At least now the police will be able to give the rest of us a 'buzz' as well...

  32. Steve Evans


    I can see chainmail coming back into fashion very shortly...

  33. Adair Silver badge

    That's entertainment.

    The Tazers used by the NZ Police are fitted with a video camera and bi-directional microphone. No doubt this is the Youtube version.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We must not slide down a slippery slope towards fully-armed, US-style policing."

    Yeah - better to pre-empt the need entirely by crushing the populace's spirit with omnipresent surveillance and stifling control over its every thought and action!

  35. Paul


    Taser the bastards some more! \o/

  36. Peyton


    The phrase "these feral children" had me laughing it up - mostly because, for me, it seemed original. Then to read your post and find that this isn't new! That's just frightening (ok actually I'm still cracking up over it). If things have reached the state where "feral children" is a common expression, then I'm inclined to think that, whatever deterrents are in place, they're not working.

  37. chris street
    Thumb Down


    Menezes was not here illegally. His visa may have been expired but he did not need that visa to enter and remain.

  38. Nicholas Ettel
    Paris Hilton

    "What these kids need..."

    " . . . a lick o' the cat and a touch of the birch."

    Did anyone else take that in the entirely dirty way?

    Paris, because she likes the "touch of a birch," too.

  39. goggyturk

    Think of the children!

    "Given the grave doubts about the Home Office’s claim that Tasers are not lethal, they should not be used on children."

    How many of the 2,222 'exposed to Taser' actually died? Or does this also include the cases of someone 'humping the Taser?'

    I would start worrying if these numbers were a couple of magnitudes bigger, but for now, I'm more worried about being in a car crash. Or even being assaulted by one of the friends of the 28 'children' the quiche eater speaks about.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    "Coppers that I know can't wait to get their hands on tasers. But only because they want to come home in one piece after their shift."

    Are you saying at present they come home in more then one piece?

    Perhaps you should suggest a change of career for everybody's sake.

  41. Richard Porter

    Why don't the kids

    just wrap themselves in Baco foil under their hoodies?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    First they came for the photographers . . .

    So, when you see the rozzers tasering someone you cannot record the incident because they will arrest you for photographing them, and aiding and abetting a criminal/terrorist. And, if it ever gets to court, you have no proof. That has worked out for nicely, then. And recently a retired government spook claimed that we should all accept the loss of our liberty, rights and democracy for the War on Terror. The media still blathers on about walking into a police state, surveillance society; note to the editors - we already there.

  43. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    IT Angle

    I wish

    That the people so against tasering as well as most law enforcement had to live in a run down grotty inner city estate surrounded by the chavs and hoodies.

    A quote from somewhere says it all really

    "Nothing turns a left wing liberal into a reactionary conservative faster than having his house burgled"

  44. Anonymous Coward

    context is missing

    In principle there should be no reason for why the police could not be equipped with tasers. In practice the main problem is the very poor training and education that so many police officers appear to have. People make mistakes under stress. A poorly trained and ignorant public servant is more likely to make mistakes which in this case does mean that inappropriate means are used on the wrong individuals. I can see the problem escalate when the police force is being "put on a diet" both in a quantitative and in a qualitative way. What our government does appear to avoid at all cost (literally) is the point that in complex real world social situations technology can not compensate for lack of ability to make informed human judgement relevant to context in any particular situation at hand.

  45. Anonymous Coward


    In with the obligatory "don't taze me bro!!"

  46. Anonymous Coward


    I used to have a 90 volt battery the went to a piece of radio kit. Maybe we could have them lick that instead....

    @ac - Taser the parents


    "Scumbag yoofs reading " Reading? orly?

  47. kain preacher

    @ Ian

    One problem here is that "children" means under 18.

    Some government stats defined child as any thing under 19

  48. LaeMi Qian

    We should probably stop calling them "non-lethal"

    Since they have killed people, the term is clearly not true. Calling them "Less lethal" (than guns) or "Reduced lethality" (SP?) would hopefully at least kill the culture of "They are non-lethal so we can fire them off anywhere and at anyone."

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "exposed to taser"

    The police only count a use of a tazer if the barbs are fired into the person.

    The alternate 'pain compliance' (AKA torture) mode where it held against the person doesn't count.

    Still as we say in Canada "ne me Tase pas, je ne suis pas Polonais"/"Don't tase me bro I'm not polish"

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's an idea

    How 'bout we let the coppers have tasers but with the understanding that if they have to use them it means they have failed, and should expect consequences ranging from docked pay to termination. (Or criminal charges in case of gross abuse.)

  51. ian

    C'mere lad and meet Mr. Tazer!

    We're too civilized to condone caning, no putting in a bit of stick here, nooo! Its not technologically advanced innit.

  52. Dave


    When the amount of "children" tasered is placed beside the amount of "children" that have been convicted of a violent crime and found to be out of kilter then I might be concerned. but since I know the latter will vastly outweigh the former I'm not.

  53. Bobo
    Thumb Down

    The Problem isn't Tasers(tm)

    The problem is that cops now think they can taser at the drop of a hat. The Taser whether nonlethal or not needs to be equated with the use of considerable incompacitating force, Equivalent to the use of a baton on a person. The police use of Tasers needs to be compared to the right of private citizens to use the same. If your child is throwing a fit... can YOU the parent use a Taser on them? Not unless you want to goto prison. So, Um why would a cop EVER use a taser on a child in the same situation? Yet there's been multiple instances of exactly that. They blame insufficient training after the fact.. um excuse me... would they dismiss a parent tasering the temper tantrum throwing 5yo as lack of sufficient training? Until the cops know they are under the SAME rule of law as you and I, this will only increase. It isn't Tasers that are the problem. It's law enforcement's belief that they can assault and incompacitate ANYONE that doesn't bow and immediately comply with anything they say. No one can disagree even in an orderly manner. No one can even question them. And now... you can't even take a picture . . . unless you want to be tasered.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Easy solution

    There is one effective way to properly educate Police about tasers: give every officer the opportunity to experience a full hit with it before it is handed out. That way, they can build their own judgement where it stands on the "less than lethal" scale.

  55. adam

    This line has been left intentionally blank

    just a thought - what'd happen if you were wearing a chain mail vest? Faraday cage or simply a quicker cooking action?

  56. Alistair

    Oh, go on then

    I for one would welcome our new instant electro-justice dispensing compliance-enforcement officer overlords.

    I keep giving them lip in the hope that one day I might be on the receiving end of one of their violently painful shocks. Skull and crossbones icon because I want to see my own skeleton when the time comes.

  57. Master Baker

    Fuck the Children

    On reflection that title sounds a bit wrong... mayeb I'll be in for a tazer'ing...

    Coppers should be trained to shoot for the knackers/general crotch area. I imagine that a barb piercing your ball sack (or flaps) and then firing 50,000 volts into said area would hurt quite a lot. They could do it to immigrants to stop them having babies.

    Then, when the victim is dancing on the floor the copper should stick their large boot into either the bastards peenie or gynie, depending on gender. Then they should mock their victim. With very harsh words/another shocking.

    Fuck the Children. Fuck them all.

  58. Jesthar

    So, how SHOULD cops deal with yoofs?

    It USED to be that if a copper caught a kid causing trouble, a stern word would normally be enough to stop them (or make them run off). This would be because there was still a healthy respect for the authority of the policeman, some of which can be attrubuted to the fact that if undesireable behaviour persisted, said kid would get a helfy clip round the ear, and likely enough marched home for all to see, where their parents would likely also deal out some suitable retribution.

    Fast forward to 2009, and instead of that we (to all casual observers, anyway) have the following PC PC (Politically Correct Police Constable) guidelines:

    - No clipping around the ear. This is physical child abuse

    - No wading in with the baton either. This is also physical child abuse

    - No physical contact at all, ideally - this may be construed as either physical or sexual child abuse.

    - If you are attacked, even viciously, be careful not to physically hurt the attacker(s) when defending yourself. That could also be classified as child abuse.

    - No remonstrating with them too firmly, either - this may be construed as verbal child abuse

    - Try to avoid the marching-home-to-parents option - they'll probably take the kids side, and you might get sued for causing extreme mental trauma by humiliating in front of their mates

    Faced with the above, the taser becomes an ideal choice - no physical contact, no verbal input beyond the required warnings, no risk of parental wrath until safely at the station etc.

    OK, so I've taken that to the logical extremes, but I'm intrigued as to how the Police, who are, after all, our Law ENFORCEMENT service, are actually supposed to enforce the law when certain sections of society are rendered virtually untouchable.

    Personally, I think reasonable corporal punishment has a valid place in law enforcement - friends tell a story of a 'bit of a lad' type who, upon moving to South Africa a few decades ago when corporal punishment was still on the books, demolished a bus shelter 'for kicks', got sentanced to six of the best, and never got into trouble again as a direct result.

    However, if a lesser option is preferred, re-introduce the use of stocks in town centres. Supply a steady stream of troublemakers and wet sponges, and not only do you have very satisfying public-centered retribution for more minor offences, reducing both the prison population and police paperwork, but if you charged 10p a throw for the sponges I reckon you could make a small fortune for charity! ;)

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If you look closely at my comment I said "see in Hello..." They don't read, they look at the pictures.

    @Simon Harpham

    Cambridge Dictionary "feral - existing in a wild state, especially describing an animal that was previously kept by people"

    OED "Feral - Of an animal: Wild, untamed. Of a plant, also (rarely), of ground: Uncultivated.

    Now often applied to animals or plants that have lapsed into a wild from a domesticated condition."

    Though I must admit to liking Wikipedia's definition - "A feral organism is one that has escaped from domestication and returned, partly or wholly, to its wild state. The introduction of feral animals or plants, like any introduced species, can disrupt ecosystems and may, in some cases, contribute to extinction of indigenous species."

    Any of these definitions seem to precisely match the gangs I see roaming my home town nightly.

    And now YOU know what feral means as well.

    P.S. I don't read ANY newspaper (El reg doesn't count as a newspaper) so the views I express are mine alone. Any alignment with views expressed by any other party is purely coincidental.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



  61. Elron Hubward

    Just what the youth of today needs...

    a short, sharp shock.

    Mine's the one with a rolled up Daily Torygraph in the pocket.

  62. Thomas Baker

    @Boris The Cockroach

    "Nothing turns a left wing liberal into a reactionary conservative faster than having his house burgled"

    Maybe, maybe not, but then surely nothing turns a reactionary conservative into a cautious left wing liberal faster than having a member of your family shot dead on the tube even though they were wholly innocent? Or being baton-charged in a tunnel by riot police for the crime of walking down the street peacefully? Or being arrested with pre-staged video and photographs being "leaked" immediately to the media with much trumpeting/front-page news and use of words like anti-terrorist police, and terrorism, terror, blah, and then subsequently being released three days later with no charge whatsoever, and of course no press; see the nine men arrested on the Viva Palestina convoy in the North West. It works both ways unfortunately, depends which blunt end you happen to be impaled upon.

    But riddle me this: How will tazering yoofs stop them or anyone else burgling your house? How will it achieve some better society? Do you think it will instil respect for the police or resentment? Do you think that after a good tazering a person will become a saint or tool up better next time? If there's something that history teaches us over and over again it's that aggression just leads to more aggression. I'm not saying I know what the answer is and lord knows I've lived in some rough towns in my time and have wanted to clobber a kid or two but the reason I haven't is mainly because unless I killed 'em, they'd be back, with mates, the following week.

    The use of tazers will result in an escalation of violence not a decrease in crime or an increase in 'respect' for the fuzz. If the police want more respect they need to put a lot of effort into recovering their credibility, they need to be accountable again but simultaneously supported in doing their job. I think the police are over-zealous because for years they've been catching crims and the courts have been letting them go, so they're frustrated and take it out on anyone they can now - but giving them a new vicious weapon can't be the answer to solve that particualr problem. Can it?

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