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Canadian Police To Curb Taser Use


The Royal Canadian Mounted Police says it will curb the use of stun guns after a critical report concluded they were using them too often.0619 05 1 2The review was prompted by the case of a Polish immigrant who died shortly after officers shot him with stun guns at Vancouver airport last year.

The report said stun guns should only be used against "combative" people.

The RCMP said it would act "as quickly as possible" to give clearer advice to officers and enhance accountability.

There are an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 stun guns available to Canadian police.

Public outrage

Paul Kennedy, who led the review by the police force's watchdog, the Commission for Public Complaints (CPC), called for "a more conservative use" of stun guns, also known as Tasers or conducted energy weapons (CEWs).

Mr Kennedy said that if the police could not account for the use of the weapon, or properly instruct officers on appropriate use, "then such use should be prohibited until prompt and strict accountability and training measures can be fully implemented".

He also recommended that officers seek immediate medical attention for people they shock with the devices.

Mr Kennedy's review followed the case of Robert Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant.

Amateur video showed the RCMP firing a stun gun at least twice at Mr Dziekanski, who died shortly afterwards.

Mr Dziekanski spoke no English and had become agitated after waiting in a secure area of the airport for 10 hours.

Police say that the guns allow an officer to subdue a violent individual without resorting to a lethal firearm.

In response to Mr Kennedy's report, the RCMP said: "We will act on the recommendations as quickly as possible to provide clearer direction to our members, to further restrict situations in which the CEW can be deployed and implement measures to enhance accountability."

© 2008 BBC News

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