Shock and law raises fears of abuse
This article was published in They Sydney Morning Herald 6 October 2010
They have been in the hands of Australian beat police for little more than three years but Tasers have already caused a storm of controversy.
They have undoubtedly saved lives, but they have also been involved in a litany of abuses.
In Australia, general duties police have shocked handcuffed children, women carrying infants and even pregnant teenagers.
They have shocked compliant, unthreatening people and used the weapon to force prisoners to comply with directions. Police have even accidentally Tasered each other.
Government watchdogs in NSW, Western Australia and Queensland have issued scathing criticisms of police use of the weapon and have pointed to the numerous overseas deaths attributable to it.