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Officers demand probe into Taser safety advice

SENIOR police officers called for a review yesterday into the safety of Tasers following the death of a young man after he was shot with a stun gun.

Factory worker Jordon Begley, 23, died two hours after he was Tasered while being restrained by three armed officers from Greater Manchester Police in July 2013.

While the initial Taser shock did not cause his heart to stop, a jury concluded this week that the weapon’s use and the restraint “more than materially contributed” to a “package” of factors leading to Mr Begley’s death.

It is the first time a British jury has found a Taser contributed to a death and has raised fresh questions about use of the weapon.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) is urging the government to refer the case to an independent body to assess if Taser safety advice should be changed.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the NPCC’s lead on less-lethal weapons, said the verdict “raises some concern about the use of Taser.”

Latest Home Office figures published yesterday showed the use of Tasers by police soared by 50 per cent in the past five years.

The 50,000-volt stun guns were used 10,062 times last year, up from 6,649 in 2010 but marginally down from 10,380 in 2013.

Amnesty International UK arms programme director Oliver Sprague said: “This increase over the last five years of police use of Taser without much stricter guidelines on their usage from the Home Office is extremely worrying. 

“On the week that an inquest jury ruled that a Taser was found to have contributed to the death of a young man in Manchester, we need more clarity on how and why these weapons are used.”

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