Added by Freedom of Information Team on 19 July 2018 at 12:12
1. Under the Freedom of Information Act, please can you provide data on the number of times tasers were used against children aged under 18 in each of the local authorities covered by the police force in 2017.
2. Please provide the above data broken down by age and categories of use: Drawn, Aimed, Arced, Red Dotted, Drive Stun, Angled Drive Stun and Fired.
3. Please could you also provide information on the youngest person a taser was used against (age, category of use).
4. If possible, please provide details of the incidents where a taser was used.
A decision to use a Taser against someone is never taken lightly. Before being used other options are considered. Often simply drawing the Taser or placing a red dot to indicate it may be used, is enough to subdue a violent person without having to fire the weapon.
No use of force is risk free but the alternatives to Taser when an individual poses a serious threat include - physical restraint, batons, police dog and, in some rare situations, a firearm. These alternatives can have a much more long-term impact on someone compared with a Taser, the effects of which last only for the duration of the discharge.
Useful information about Tasers and their use in Avon and Somerset can be found here on our website including descriptions of the multiple categories a use of Taser is recorded under from ‘drawn’ to ‘fired’.
1. Tasers have been used against individuals aged under 18 years 16 times in 2017.
2. The breakdown for uses between 1st January and 31st March are exempt from disclosure. The exemption applicable to this information is Section 21 – Information reasonably accessible by other means. This is an absolute and class based exemption and as such does not require a harm and public interest test.
The information requested is publicly available to view on our website here. In accordance with the Act, this represents a Refusal Notice for this part of your request.
Please see the information from April 2017 to December 2017 in the attached file.
3. The youngest subject was aged 13 years. The category of use was ‘drawn’. The Taser was not fired.
4. I am unable to provide you with the specific details of the each Taser use as this information constitutes personal information. The exemption applicable to this is Section 40(2), third party personal information. This is an Absolute exemption so therefore there is no requirement to conduct a harm or public interest test. Any information is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act if it relates to or is supplied by another individual and disclosure of that information would contravene any of the principles of the 1998 Data Protection Act, in this particular case, disclosure of this information would contravene Principles 1 and 2 of the Act, whereby personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully and only obtained for one or more specified purpose or purposes.
FOI reference: 712/18.
Date of request: 24.05.18.