Shropshire Star

Police to get more powerful Tasers just months after Dalian Atkinson's death in Telford

Police officers will be issued with a new and more powerful Taser stun guns in controversial plans approved by the Home Secretary, just months after footballer Dalian Atkinson died after being struck by a police Taser in Telford.


Amber Rudd has today given the go-ahead for police forces in England and Wales to begin issuing their officers with the X2 stun gun.

Mr Atkinson died after being struck by a police Taser outside his father's house in the Trench area of Telford last August.

The incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is still yet to determine the exact cause of Mr Atkinson's death and whether the use of the stun gun played any part.

At the time of Mr Atkinson's death, calls were made by his family for all Taser-equipped officers to be issued with body cameras as a standard procedure.

At least 11 deaths in the UK have been linked to the use of Tasers but experts have been unable to establish whether they have been directly responsible for any of those deaths.

Critics have called for a review of the use of Tasers after the string of deaths related to the weapon.

Today Telford MP Lucy Allan echoed the views of the former Aston Villa footballer's family, calling for all officers using Tasers to wear body cams to monitor their use.

She also said discharge of the weapons should only be used in "exceptional circumstances" where safety of the public of officers is at risk.

Ms Allan said: "Police who are properly trained and who have body cams monitoring the use of stun guns should be allowed to use Tasers.

"I recognise that in some circumstances Tasers have been used with lethal effect so training and monitoring is essential.

"Discharge should only be used in exceptional circumstances where safety of the public or police is threatened."

The weapon has an electric crackle warning noise and pulsating light to try and encourage a suspect to surrender before they are fired at, as well as having a second shot in case the first fails.

Experts have been examining the new X2 Taser for a number of months to establish whether it would be a suitable replacement for the current weapon, which has been used by police officers across the UK for the past 13 years.

Police officials claim the current Taser is becoming outdated and forces are struggling to find spare parts for the weapons when they break.

The Police Federation has called for all officers who want to carry a Taser to be issued with the stun gun.

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