'Enough' Tasers among gardaí as HQ rules out expanding use

'Enough' Tasers among gardaí as HQ rules out expanding use

The biggest garda staff body, the GRA, has reiterated its call for Tasers to be provided to all members. Picture: PA

Garda HQ has ruled out expanding, for the time being at least, Taser stun guns among gardaí.

It comes as the biggest garda staff body reiterated its call for Tasers to be provided to all members.

The call from the Garda Representative Association was made after an official watchdog north of the border recommended that more PSNI officers be armed with the weapons.

Currently, Tasers are only provided to elite garda sections — the Emergency Response Unit, the regional Armed Support Units and the Special Detective Unit.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary recommended that the PSNI should consult on making stun guns, such as Tasers, “available to more officers”.

It said stun guns represent a less-lethal alternative to handguns and that batons and incapacitant sprays also pose risks, both to the officer, in terms of close proximity, and the subject.

All PSNI officers can carry a handgun, but only specialist firearms officers can carry stun guns.

Reacting, the GRA president Jim Mulligan said: “International experience shows that Tasers protect police and suspects in violent situations, with a consequent benefit for potential victims and wider public safety,” said association.

“Our members are faced with every more violent and dangerous situations and are entitled to have suitable protective equipment such as non-fatal weaponry.” 

He added: “We believe Tasers should be available to gardaí and that robust protocols governing their use will contribute to a safer environment for the public and our members.” 

Responding, Garda HQ said Tasers were currently provided to members of the ERU, the ASUs and the SDU.

Asked if they were examining expanding their use, it said: “Similar to any PPE, An Garda Síochána maintains a constant review of the use, deployment, expansion or reduction of issue of Taser devices. At present, the current deployment of members issued with Taser devices meets the needs and demands made on the organisation.” 

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