25 Jan 2008

The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley, is extremely worried that the PSNI has decided to introduce Tasers into operational use.

Ms Lewsley said she has been advised that the Chief Constable has approved the deployment of Tasers to specialist units from midnight tonight.

“Tasers will be available to be used by officers despite the objections of myself and numerous others.

"I have as yet not seen the safeguards by way of operational guidelines that will make sure children and young people will be protected from having Tasers used against them."

"The introduction of Tasers has happened before a full Equality Impact Assessment has been completed.

"While my office has been trying to address the issue on behalf on children and young people I am disturbed the Chief Constable has pressed ahead with this decision."

The Commissioner today has written to the Northern Ireland Policing Board seeking a meeting to air her concerns.

She also intends the raise this issue when she reports to the United Nations this year.