Police Taser boy, 11, after knife stand-off with officers in South Ayrshire - official police statement
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Police Scotland has issued an official statement after an 11-year-old boy was Tasered following a knife stand-off. The force has confirmed the incident took place on March 22 at the Craig Tara caravan park, near Ayr.
The Scottish Sun published footage that showed several officers asking the boy to put down the weapon before one of the officers fired a 50,000-volt stun gun. The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) had received a referral over the incident.
The footage shows the schoolboy being approached by at least four officers. One of the officers points the Taser at the child, who appears to be holding a knife and mobile phone.
The officers encouraged the boy to “do the right thing” and drop the knife before the 11-year-old backed away from them. One of the police officers asks the child: “What do you want to do with the knife?”
However, the boy continues to retreat and tells the officers to “stay back”. The police officer holding the stun gun then Tasers the child.
What is a Taser?
The Police Scotland website describes Tasers as a useful tool to protect people from violence or threats of violence. This is especially true in cases where traditional methods of physical restraint could result in injury to the person or officers.
However, their use on children is controversial, with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of a Child previously calling for a ban. Concern over the footage has been expressed by the office of the Children’s and Young People’s Commissioner in Scotland.
“No serious injuries” following incident
All incidents involving a discharged Taser are referred to PIRC. A national advisory group on Taser use in Scotland was set up in February 2022, which includes children’s rights representatives.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "Officers attended a disturbance involving an 11-year-old boy in possession of a knife at Craig Tara Caravan Park near Ayr around 11.15pm on Wednesday, 22 March. The incident was resolved with no serious injuries. It was contained and there was no risk to the wider public.
"A Taser was discharged during this incident. As part of standard procedure, the circumstances of the incident were referred to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner."
“Significant risk for children”
Nick Hobbs, head of advice and investigations at the office of the Children’s and Young People’s Commissioner said: "Tasers are potentially lethal and inflict severe pain which creates significant risk for children. Human rights bodies, including the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, have long called on Scotland to ban the use of Tasers on children, highlighting the serious risk of physical and psychological harm such weapons pose.
"We remain seriously concerned about Tasers' use in situations where there may be more effective and safer ways to deescalate high-pressured situations."
Plans for a four-fold increase in Taser officers were revealed by Police Scotland in 2021. This is in response to a rising number of assaults on frontline staff, with the force confirming Specially Trained Officers numbers would increase from 500 to 2,000 by 2024.