Irish Republican News · October 3, 2008
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Policing Board backs Tasers
Policing Board backs Tasers
taser.jpg

There was widespread dismay among nationalists after the Policing Board backed PSNI Chief Hugh Orde’s call for the deployment of Taser electric stun guns.

Two Sinn Féin members of the board and an independent voted against the measure, while 15 members supported it.

The board, which helps hold the PSNI to account, approved the deployment of the weapon, despite cases where use of the weapon has led to deaths and so-called ‘torture by Taser’.

Sinn Féin board member Martina Anderson doubted the readiness of some nationalist communities to accept the decision. “I don’t think there’s confidence out there, particularly in the nationalist/republican community, to see this weapon deployed,” she said.

Tasers were used once in Derry in August since they were brought in under trial last January.

Orde said: “I have to deal with the situation on the streets of Northern Ireland tomorrow, I cannot wait. I have bent over backwards to reassure the board at every single level that we have done everything we can to mitigate the impact of using what is a far less lethal weapon than a firearm.”

Sinn Féin board member Martina Anderson doubted the readiness of some nationalist communities to accept the decision. “I don’t think there’s confidence out there, particularly in the nationalist/ republican community, to see this weapon deployed,” she said.

Republican Sinn Féin said Sinn Féin had to “accept collective responsibility for this horrendous decision”.

“Once again we have the use of lethal weapons by a Provo-sponsored force being authorised against the Irish people by a Provo-sponsored body,” said RSF’s Director of Publicity, Richard Walsh.

CS ATTACK

Meanwhile, the PSNI were accused of an unprovoked attack on a group of youths in Derry last weekend during a disturbance in the Waterside of the cty.

CS gas spray was used against dozens of youths amid a large-scale deployment of PSNI forces in the city.

One victim, who did not want to be named, said the spray was used “without warning”.

“We were all gathered round in a circle and the police, they automatically brought out CS spray,” he said.

“They just sprayed everybody, sprayed roughly between 20 and 30 people for no reason.

“I had to be carried up Spencer Road - I couldn’t see nothing. It was just out of hand.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Lynn Fleming said she intended to raise the issue with the local District Policing Partnership.

“Something in the region of 20 young people, who were not involved directly with the fracas that was taking place, were sprayed for no reason,” she said.

“Had this been Carrickfergus or Ballymena, would they have been so quick to use this method?”

© 2008 Irish Republican News