Police keep Tasers holstered
Oct 9, 2012 / 5:17 pm
Taser use by police in British Columbia is down 87 per cent since Robert Dziekanski died at Vancouver's airport five years ago, prompting questions Tuesday from politicians wondering what police are doing now to control out-of-control people.
BC police officers used their Tasers 640 times in 2007, compared to 85 deployments last year, assistant deputy justice minister Clayton Pecknold told an all-party committee assessing the status of recommendations to tighten provincial Taser policy since Dziekanski's October 2007 death.
The figures had Liberal MLA John Slater wondering what police have been doing instead to subdue people who are potentially dangerous.
"How many of them have been shot by police?" said Slater. "What has happened in the last five years?"
Gabi Hoffmann, program manager for the police services division in the justice ministry, said police shootings have not increased since Dziekanski's death and the 2009 public inquiry and recommendations of former judge Thomas Braidwood, but she did not provide data.
Hoffmann, who accompanied Pecknold, told the committee police appear to be relying more heavily on verbal skills and physical tools other than Tasers when dealing with potentially dangerous situations.
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