Jennette Arnold
London assembly member for North East London — fighting your corner at City Hall
Black people three times more likely than white people to be Tasered by police

Black people three times more likely than white people to be Tasered by police

Figures have been revealed that show that Black people are three times more likely to have a Taser stun gun used against them in Britain than white people.

The weapon has been used by police thousands of times in the past five years, with a rise in its use against children, the Home Office data showed.

Tasers were used – meaning they were drawn, aimed or fired – by police 38,135 times between 2010 and 2015, a BBC freedom of information request showed.

In 80 per cent of cases the weapon was not discharged.

In over 12 per cent of cases in which ethnicity was recorded – more than 36,000 of the 38,000 incidents – the person against whom the Taser was used was black and of African-Caribbean origin or of mixed white and African-Caribbean origin.

Figures from the Met police showed an increasing use of Taser against young people and teenagers. The data showed that last year police used a Taser against nearly 100 young people aged 16 or under. A boy of 13 was the youngest to be subject to a Taser last year when an officer aimed the weapon at him. A total of 11 boys aged 14 were targeted by Taser. Police fired a Taser on only two occasions against 14-year-olds, both of them were white.

There were 30 teenagers aged 15 who were subject to Taser in London last year – five of whom were classified as white – while 56 Taser cases involved children aged 16. In 2011 figures showed that police used Taser against just four young people aged 16 or under in London and the weapon was not fired.

In 2012 Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe increased the number of officers carrying the weapons citing concerns that unarmed officers were waiting too long for armed back-up.

For myself and other London Assembly Members who served on the Metropolitan Police Authority these figures will not come as a shock We warned years ago that increased use of tasers will lead to black and ethnic minority young men being disproportionately affected.