A TWELVE-year-old St Helens girl was shot by police with a Taser stun gun, an investigation has revealed.
Officers fired the weapon – which administers a paralysing electric shock – at the youngster during an incident in St Helens on July 28, 2011, despite fears the weapons can cause fatal heart attacks.
In America, more than 500 people have died after being shocked by a Taser and, in many cases, coroners have declared the use of Taser a contributory factor.
However a Merseyside Police spokesman defended the use of the weapon as a last resort and said officers had stuck to Home Office guidelines, which urge police to consider the age of the victim before discharging the Taser barbs.
He said: “The girl was armed with two knives in a public place, was threatening to harm herself and behaving aggressively towards the police. Taser was deployed as a means to safely detain the girl and prevent serious harm to both her, the public and the officers. The girl was uninjured and was subsequently arrested and cautioned for the offence.
“Officers instigated the normal post-incident procedures to determine the full circumstances of Taser deployment and found that it was fired in line with force guidelines, as a proportionate and appropriate method to deal with the situation.”
Dave Watts MP claimed that “for obvious reasons” every effort should be made to avoid the use of Tasers - especially on children.
The MP for St Helens North said: “The police have to make a judgement on the risks that the person poses to themselves, the police and the public. It’s not a judgement I would like to make because Tasers are not without risk - they can stop peoples’ hearts.
“I would hope and expect that when these events happen there is an investigation into them to make sure the guidelines have been followed. Tasers should only be used if there’s a direct danger to the individual, the general public or the police officers. It should be a very rare event and should be closely monitored.”
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