A London Assembly Member has expressed concern after it emerged that Metropolitan Police officers unintentionally discharged their Taser weapons 23 times during the past 14 months.
Answering a question from Liberal Democrat AM Caroline Pidgeon, Mayor Boris Johnson said discharges classed as unintentional “involve the non-deliberate activation of the Taser but not necessarily the firing of barbs”.
The Mayor said the Met’s figures showed 21 of the incidents “happened on Police Premises” and that none had resulted in injury.
Over the past 18 months the Met has increased the number of officers carrying the ‘less lethal’ weapons amid concerns that unarmed officers were waiting too long for back-up.
The wider availability of Taser coincides with a fourfold increase in the number of times officers drew the weapons, reviving some Assembly Members’ concerns that officers may be using the weapons as a compliance tool.
Last month Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe told AMs that some officers wanted him to further increase the number of officers carrying the weapons but that he had no plans to do so.
Ms Pidgeon said the new figures raised fresh questions about the decision to increase Taser availability and undermined those wanting even more officers to carry them.
She said: “With every month typically seeing at least one unintentional discharge of a Taser we now have even further evidence why real caution must be shown in their wider rollout.”
“For the Metropolitan Police Service to defend these statistics by claiming that at present unintentional discharges largely take place within police stations does not inspire confidence, or support those campaigning to ensure far more police officers are deployed to use them on streets across London.”