Amnesty International calls for restrictions on tasers after police mistakenly shock blind Chorley man (From This Is Lancashire)
Amnesty International calls for restrictions on tasers after police mistakenly shock blind Chorley man
AN INTERNATIONAL human rights group has called for strict guidelines on the use of tasers after a police officer fired at a blind man after he mistook the man’s white stick for a samurai sword.
Colin Farmer, 61, is recovering after the incident in Chorley on Friday during which he was shot with the 50,000 volt device, restrained on the floor and handcuffed by an officer.
Amnesty International UK arms programme director Oliver Sprague said: “This disturbing incident illustrates why Amnesty insists that this weapon is used only in the strictest set of circumstances, which involves a threat to life or very serious injury.
“It also shows that officers must undergo intensive, rigorous training which takes into account how to respond to people in vulnerable groups, including the visually impaired.
“Essential precautions must be taken before the Taser is used.
“For example the visual warnings like the drawing of the weapon and the red-dot deterrent, would not have been likely to have been effective to a blind man.”
Lancashire police have launched an urgent inquiry into the incident and the matter will also be investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Mr Sprague added: “There must be strict Home Office guidelines outlining exactly when and in what circumstances Tasers are used.
“Without these, Amnesty remains concerned that police officers are more likely to use the Taser in circumstances where it is not needed."