Video A top Welsh cop has posted video of himself being zapped with a Taser cattleprod stun gun. With a strangled cry of "Aagh - bloody hell," North Wales chief constable Richard Brunstrom tastes electric justice and pitches to the deck, towards the end of this Flash vid:
The stunt was intended to back up Brunstrom's decision to issue ordinary plods with Tasers. Thus far, in the UK, the crippling high-voltage cattleprod launchers have been carried only by specialist firearms units. The North Wales tactical squad has had Tasers since 2003.
However, Brunstrom - as he says on his blog - has recently decided that "the device has a wider application to provide better and quicker protection to ordinary patrol officers in remote locations faced with dangerous or violent people ... We have therefore just issued Tasers to a substantial number of officers based in the more rural parts of the force."
Rowdy sheep take note.
Plods in the US and UK often like Tasers, despite the fact that the devices are sometimes thought to have worrying health effects. Most people - for sure, now including chief constable Brunstrom - would agree that getting zapped is no fun. But coppers frequently contend that most of their other options for dealing with violent miscreants are worse.
If the police outnumber the scoundrels hugely, four or five officers can sometimes seize and cuff an unarmed opponent without much risk to themselves and - if they're lucky - without harming the perp too much. Even this, though, offers a chance for cops or their adversaries to be badly hurt as the braceletting is carried out.
If the malefactor has a knife, a bottle or whatever - or if the plods don't have several officers for each offender, or they've been eating too many cakes in the canteen - things get a lot worse. The cops will probably have to club, gas, pepper-spray or even shoot people in these situations, if they aren't allowed to Taser them. All of these things are arguably at least as damaging as being shocked, which is why policemen often like the electric option.
Manchester's boss plod Michael Todd sampled a spot of street shock-therapy a few months back, too:
There could be a trend starting here: if you want to be a chief constable you have to eat lightning. It does seem only fair.
"We're prepared to use this on members of the public when we have to," says Brunstrom.
"It's right and proper that the head of the organisation tries it out for himself."
"I very strongly advise you, if faced by an officer and a Taser, that you follow the instructions of the nice police officer, because you will not enjoy the consequences of disobedience."®