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Watchdog airs fears over use of Tasers

By Margaret Davis

"Major concerns" remain over police using Tasers at point-blank range in what is "purely a means of pain compliance", a watchdog has said.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found that the highly controversial practice is still being used, despite the tactic being largely removed from officer training.

In 2013 Tasers were used 287 times in so-called "drive-stun" mode, when the weapon without a cartridge is held directly against the body, out of a total of 1,733 occasions where they were fired.

IPCC Commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone said: "The IPCC has major concerns about the use of Tasers in drive-stun mode, where the Taser is applied directly to the body without a cartridge rather than fired from a distance.

"When used in this way, it is purely a means of pain compliance. Yet in several of the cases we reviewed, where it was used for the purpose of gaining compliance, it had the opposite effect, stimulating further resistance."

A total of 15 complaints were made about the drive-stun cases last year.

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