Do Tasers Reduce Injury?

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TaserCBC news reports that officers in Halifax are increasingly choosing to use their nightsticks instead of a Taser because of the “controversy swirling around the weapons.” The police chief claims this is leading to more injuries…

“It’s having a negative impact on officers and the public who are both being injured because we’re resorting to other tools,” he said, “and when you resort to tools like pepper spray or batons, injuries are going to increase.”

The hand-held stun guns deliver a jolt of electricity to the person targeted. Recent Taser-related deaths have re-ignited a national debate about the use of the weapons in Canada.

In Nova Scotia, the use of the devices has gone up 80 per cent since 2005, from 101 to 182 times in 2007, according to a provincial report released Wednesday.

The review of stun guns found the Halifax Regional Police, which first acquired nine Tasers in 2002, reported a big drop in injuries in interactions between police and citizens in 2006, after more stun guns were acquired and more officers were trained to use them.

The review also said injury rates went up from 2006 to 2007, though no numbers were given. The authors speculated this was the result of officers being more reluctant to use Tasers.

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