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Taser use accusation rejected

London Independent | July 29, 2005

The force which used an electric stun gun to fell a suspected suicide bomber hit back after a scathing public dressing down from Britain's top policeman.


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Scotland Yard Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said the firing of a Taser by West Midlands Police during their arrest of Yasin Hassan Omar in Birmingham on Wednesday was an "incredible risk" because it could have set off any bomb he might have had on him.

In a highly unusual move, Sir Ian openly criticised another force's officers for their actions.

He said: "I'll be honest, we don't understand how they could possibly... it was an incredible risk to use a Taser on a suicide bomber because the Taser itself could set it off and that is not the policy.

"I can't imagine how that was used. We use Tasers in London regularly but a Taser sends electric currents into the body of somebody. If there is a bomb on that body then the bomb can go off. I can't imagine... it may be that it was clear there wasn't a bomb, I don't know what the situation was."

Sir Ian said it was his continued belief that the only way to stop a suicide bomber was by shooting them dead.

That was despite the "tragic" fatal shooting of innocent Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes in London a week ago because police officers believed he was a suicide bomber.

Sir Ian said; "Despite everything that's been said there is only one way to stop a suicide bomber, which is to kill that person because anything else that happens, unless you can persuade them in some open space to undress, everything else allows the shot to go home but the bomb to go off."

Following his comments on BBC News special programme Questions Of Security, West Midlands Police denied in a statement they had taken unnecessary risks.

They have voluntarily referred the use of the Taser to the Independent Police Complaints Commission for investigation. "It's impossible to draw conclusions until these inquiries have been concluded," the statement added.


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