Why Brent Police use Tasers in the borough

Chief Superintendent Michael Gallagher

Chief Superintendent Michael Gallagher - Credit: Archant

Every week Chief Superintendent Michael Gallagher, Brent Police borough commander, writes a column to inform Times readers about the latest policing activity happening in the borough. Today he talks about the use of Tasers in Brent.

This week I thought I would start with an update on our use of Taser. Since the go-live date on March 25 last year, Taser has been used 113 times by Brent officers. This does not mean it was actually drawn and fired. That has happened on only seven occasions. Officers often draw it and tell suspects they are doing so. This is normally enough to diffuse the situation, and to date that has happened on 45 occasions.

On each occasion the suspect concerned was successfully detained and was either arrested or taken to hospital due to mental health issues. The Taser has been used mainly for threats of violence, with or without weapons, towards the police or members of the public, where other tactical options available were deemed to be less appropriate by the officers involved.

There are currently 40 officers in Brent trained to use Taser. Two double crewed cars are normally deployed on each shift, which is in line with the Commissioner’s expectations across all London boroughs.

There have been no complaints about the use of Taser in Brent Borough since the go-live date and the only injuries sustained are of a minor, secondary nature, where the suspect involved fell over. He was taken directly to hospital, where he was subsequently declared as fit to be returned into police detention at the police station.

It’s important to note that in the vast majority of incidents the officers have been able to bring situations to a successful conclusion by using the range of options which precede the need to actually fire the Taser.

I would also draw your attention to a recent increase that we have seen in thefts of motor vehicles on the borough. While in the scheme of things numbers are low, any increase is not good news. This crime type is mainly manifesting itself in the theft of mopeds and scooters, but also high end four wheel drives where technology is being used to disable the electrical locking systems on the vehicles.

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While the industry is looking to design out this latter issue in the longer term, in the short term vehicle owners are advised to be aware of this method and to ensure their vehicles are left in safe and secure environments, preferably in garages or in areas that are covered by CCTV. It also pays to be vigilant and to report any suspicious persons or vehicles that you may feel are targeting the area. My officers are of course also targeting locations and offenders and are deploying trap vehicles and other overt and covert tactics to detect and arrest perpetrators.