Report reveals Police Scotland pulled tasers on 41 children last year

Date: 16th June 2023

Illustration shows a teddy bear with a plaster on its forehead and its arm in a cast. The illustration represents children's right to be free from all forms of violence.

A report presented to the Police Authorities shows 41 incidents of taser use on children, an increase over the last year, despite condemnation by the UN.

According to media reports, the document reveals that Police Scotland used tasers on 41 children in 2022-23. This figure shows an increase in incidents of 17 per cent on the previous year.

Civil society organisations in Scotland have been asking for an outright ban on the use of tasers and all harmful weapons against children for many years. Together gathered evidence from our members about the use of harmful devices and included it in our report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, asking for the Scottish Government to ban the use of tasers on children. Since our report, the UN Committee has reviewed the UK and Scottish Government children’s rights records and made the official recommendation (known as a Concluding Observation), advising that the use of harmful devices on children including tasers should be prohibited;

30. The Committee reiterates its previous recommendations (2016 40.(a)) and urges the State party to: (a) Take legislative measures to explicitly prohibit, without exception, the use of: (i) harmful devices including spit hoods, tasers, plastic bullets, attenuating energy projectiles and other electrical discharge weapons against children.”

Nick Hobbs, interim Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, said: “It is unacceptable for a child to be tasered, or to be threatened with a Taser by police.” He added: “Tasers are potentially lethal and inflict severe pain which creates significant risk for children.”

When will the Scottish Government listen to the UN who has now twice condemned the use of these dangerous weapons on children and asked the UK to prohibit their use.