In the effort, perhaps, to distract public attention from serious allegations of corruption, “two homes” secretary, Jacqui Smith (left) has been doing the media rounds to announce her updated counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST 2, designed, as usual, to make people even more afraid than they already are.
In the meantime another connected and more sinister announcement has gone unnoticed by the main stream media. On 19 March Ms Smith said that UK police inc. will get up to 10,000 new tasers and £2.3 million to pay for cartridges. South Wales cops will get 120 and the gun-toting Gwent force will get an extra 100.
It isn’t simply the huge number of these lethal weapons that needs to be highlighted and condemned, however. Of more significance is the fact that tasers, which deliver 50,000 volts in 5-second bursts, will no longer be issued exclusively to firearms officers, who, at least, have a modicum of training (so we’re told). From now on, ‘specially trained’ police response officers will be able to get their hands on the weapon, which since its introduction in the US has contributed to the deaths of 351 people according to Amnesty International. And what of this ‘special training’ received by the plods? “Kaiser Bill”, posting on the Police forum blog, gives us an insight:
“Training?….hahahahaha. Response is the lowest of the low…response policing tends to be something people try to escape at the earliest opportunity…. the blind leading the blind quite often.”
The blind leading the blind! Hardly fills you with confidence, does it? Neither does a recent episode when coppers in north Wales tasered a confused 89 year-old man, who’d wandered out of his care home. Jacqui, however, has no qualms: ‘Everyday the police put themselves in danger to protect us, the public. They deserve our support, so I want to give the police the tools they tell me they need to confront dangerous people. That is why I have given every police force the number of Tasers they have requested.’
We wonder if Ms Smith will still have her tongue firmly inside the police’s arsenal of lethal weaponry when numbers killed by tasers start to mount…
Could it be that tasers will be deployed on the streets of London during the G20? As interest grows in the April Fools Day gathering at the Bank of England, the MET are starting to get worried. And if they want to resort to tasers, they can rest assured that they’ll have another 150 of them to play with thanks to Jacqui’s generosity.