Police more likely to Taser black people - Home Office

© Kieran Doherty
Black people are three times more likely to have a Taser used against them by police, new statistics released by the Home Officer suggest.

The figures also show a rise in the use of Tasers against children. The statistics were uncovered by a BBC Freedom of Information request.

Overall the weapons were drawn, aimed or fired 38,135 times by police between 2010 and 2015, but in 80 percent of cases the weapon itself was not discharged.

Of all the cases where ethnicity was recorded – some 360,000 cases – 12 percent of the individuals against which the Taser was used were of African-Caribbean origin or of mixed white and African-Caribbean origin.

People of this ethnicity only make up 4 percent of the British population, making them proportionally more likely to encounter a police Taser.

The BBC said the figures represent the first conclusive evidence to suggest black people are more likely to have Tasers used against them.

It has previously been reported that black people face a higher rate of ‘stop and search’, are more likely to be arrested and are more likely to be sent to prison than white people.

The figures also showed that Tasers were drawn, aimed or fired upon people under the age of 18 in 522 cases, a rise from 349 in 2010. There were 158 cases against children under the age of 16 in the past year alone, the figures show.

Matilda MacAttram, from campaign group Black Mental Health UK, told the BBC the results are “deeply disturbing.”

There’s an increasing amount of data, both anecdotal and also concrete, which show this supposedly ‘non-lethal’ weapon is being used against people who are in a very vulnerable state,” she said.

“That’s actually a violation of their human rights and it should not be happening,” she added.

In recent months police have been involved in a number of Taser incidents. One case, in Hampshire, involved a nine-year-old boy. The Taser was not fired.

Another case saw the weapon drawn against a 91-year-old man.