The UK’s Metropolitan Police Federation’s (MPF) is bitching and moaning about the Home Office’s decision not to equip its members with TASERs. Remembering that The Land of Hope and Glory has disarmed its citizens, here’s a taste of the MPF’s justification for their dissatisfaction: “The arguments for ensuring that it has much wider deployment are formidable. Not least among them is the question of public re-assurance . . .
For the ordinary citizen there can be nothing worse than seeing something threatening happening – such as a six-foot, 20 stone man running amok with a machete – which the police are apparently unable to speedily deal with.
And delay is the friend of criminals, who can use the minutes at their disposal to plan their next moves, which may include acquiring another weapon, or a better one.
Even apparently mundane incidents can, of course, suddenly escalate. In domestic arguments, for example, it is not unknown for the emotional temperature to suddenly reach a point where one partner goes for a weapon. Again, the presence of a Taser may dissuade them.
This is what happens when the government assumes a monopoly on violence: they don’t even perceive a need for self-defense. The idea that a citizen—sorry subject would want to defend themselves a machete-wielding madman—or some other lethal threat—doesn’t even occur to them.
Reading between the lines, the MPF’s campaign for TASERs is all about their officers’ safety—not the well-being of those they’re supposed to serve and protect.
Of course, the Taser is not a universal panacea, any more than batons or spray. When a criminal has a gun and is threatening to shoot, the response must be a conventional firearm – the spasm caused by a Taser hit could cause the gunman’s finger to squeeze the trigger.
But the Met Fed is convinced that its wider deployment will enhance officer safety, public safety and even the safety of suspects.
It will also reduce the pressure on those specialist units which have the weapon and who too often have to fight distance, traffic and clock to help their unarmed colleagues.