Tasing children: UK cops used stun gun on 407 minors despite UN warning

© Regis Duvignau
Hundreds of minors were tased by police across England and Wales between January 2014 and November 2015, according to a report by police monitoring group StopWatch.

They found children under 14 in 57 incidents of police using stun guns and submitted the study to the UN Committee of the Rights of the Child

READ MORE: UN tells UK to ban police Taser use on children – report

The electronic weapons are used by police to temporarily incapacitate a suspect by using a jolt of up to 50,000 volts and have been criticized by the UN as a form of torture.

The international law in relation to their use, which the UK has been signed up to since 1990, has been violated as a result of the practice, according to the watchdog organization.

The London Met was recorded as the top offender using stun guns against 185 minors over the two year period, 16 of them under 14.

The findings also revealed that British police performed 75 strip searches on minors last year.

Data from 18 police forces was compiled by StopWatch through a series of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests.

The group, which is a coalition of legal experts and civil liberties campaigners, said the rights of children had been “violated” and that police actions contradicted the Human Rights Act.

READ MORE: Laying charges: UK police Taser use on rise against mentally ill, minorities

“Perhaps the most shocking thing is we don’t really know what effects Tasers have when used on children,” StopWatch said in a statement. “The obvious medical concern is that children are smaller and thus more vulnerable: their heart muscles and bones may not have developed fully; it is believed that cardiac rupture is more likely to occur among children.”

Amnesty International official Oliver Sprague condemned the findings and said he was concerned about the lack of “guidance” police have on using the weapon on young people and children.

Using electronic weapons on minors has been categorized as child abuse when perpetrated by civilians (particularly African-Americans), but British police continue the practice despite a warning from the Defence Sub-committee on the Medical Implications of Less-Lethal Weapons that stun guns are more likely to cause heart problems in children.

In the US, Philadelphia police were criticized for firing a Taser at a 14-year-old boy’s face, causing him to fall and injure himself.

Bucks County officials stood by the officer’s actions, blaming the boy for initially running away from police after being arrested for shoplifting.