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CMC concerned by taser use on medically vulnerable

THE number of indigenous and medically-vulnerable people facing police tasers is a concerning trend, the Crime and Misconduct Commission says.

The watchdog also says the proportion of people subjected to multiple and prolonged discharges remains high, with more than one quarter of people stunned in this way.

Police used tasers 1187 times between July 22, 2010, and June 30 this year, though for the majority of those the trigger was not pulled.

Indigenous people are most likely to have a taser pointed at them but Caucasian people are most likely to feel the sting.

The CMC report, released on Tuesday, found a large proportion of taser targets were substance-affected, with most multiple or prolonged taser use involving people believed to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"Although there was some reduction in the proportion of injuries and medical complications associated with Taser deployments, the majority of Taser-related injuries are still caused by people falling on hard surfaces while incapacitated by the Taser," the report.

Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said the Taser was a great option for officers to have when they feared for their lives.

He said officers were regularly trained in ways to de-escalate issues but it was effective in stopping people, especially drug-affected offenders.

"The Taser is an important tool in our arsenal in non-lethal force to stop major assaults to our officers and one we're not about to reneg on," he said.

"The status quo remains. There is concern about multiple cycling of Tasers on some people we've had to deal with in that way.

"We check the electronic records to make sure that the description given by the officers, or the person Tasered, about what occurred can be backed up.

"That's an important part of the safety net. We also do random audits."

Topics:  police, queensland, tasers




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