Thursday, 24 November 2011

So, Inspector Gadget….

…is it still ‘time for taser in London’?

One witness, who did not want to be named, said the man was wearing an outfit which looked like Kiefer Sutherland's character Doc in the Young Guns movie, in which he wears a trench coat and cowboy hat.

"He was just sitting on the train singing away and didn't look like he would harm a fly, but obviously someone had seen a toy gun in his waistband and reported it." Another witness, Harold Gerber, 47, said: "He was quietly singing to himself and wearing a cowboy hat and a long trench coat. I didn't think he was doing anything wrong."
Well, indeed! I suppose it depends on what he was singing…

A spokesman for the British Transport Police said: "We were called to Norwood Junction on November 15 after a report of a man with a firearm.

"Armed officers from the Met Tasered the man because they thought he had a gun."
Oh. Right. Well, that’s OK, actually. They don’t need to know he has a gun, they only need to think they – or the public - are at risk.

And the guy is clearly Radio Rental:

The man was later detained under the Mental Health Act and remains in hospital.
However, it transpires that the ‘Evening Standard’ doesn’t tell the full story.

A Tweet by the ‘Guardian’ crime correspondent states the man was tasered multiple times. And the local paper has this:

The train was held at the platform and evacuated before the man was arrested on suspicion of assaulting police and possession of an imitation firearm.

Mr Gerber said: “I saw them coming from another carriage. The guy had his gun pointed right at me and was shouting to put my hands on my head. I was terrified. I haven’t been able to sleep since. They could have come on in plain clothes and scoped it out. If he had been carrying a real gun it could have been carnage on a full train like that.”
I’d have thought if you had reports of a potentially mentally deranged suspect, a quieter approach would have been better for all concerned.

This is, after all, before the incident in Kingsbury...

Left shaken by the incident Mr Gerber, who was travelling to Charing Cross to attend a job interview, visited South Norwood Police station to complain later that day but was told to leave his number and be contacted.

He said; “I think it is terrible. I just want a form to put down my complaint but they have fobbed me off every time.”
What a shocker…

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “Armed officers responded to a call from a member of rail staff at Norwood Junction station to reports of a man on the platform waving what appeared to be a pistol around and shouting.

When police arrived the man had boarded a train which had been held at the station.
Officers boarded the train and made their way through the carriages to the male suspect who had his hands in his pockets.

The suspect moved forward towards the officers whilst shouting and refused to remove his hands from his pockets.

Attempts by the officers to physically restrain him failed so they deployed Taser.

The man was Tasered a number of times but this seemed to have no effect.
Well, well, well…

It seems that taser isn’t the ‘magic bullet’ that some people clearly think it is, or are willing to use a horrific situation to see rolled out to all officers.

So, what now?

19 comments:

PJH said...

Well it's not as if tasers are harmful or anything is it?

Oh...

Bobo said...

"The suspect moved forward towards the officers whilst shouting and refused to remove his hands from his pockets.

Attempts by the officers to physically restrain him failed so they deployed Taser."

Very hard to restrain a man with his hands in his pockets:fact.

Anonymous said...

OK but what if he did have a real gun in his pocket it could have been a very dangerous situation (OK so it's not very likely, but).

It seems that in pretty much all the situations where people get tasered it was because they didn't comply with the police requests. (Yes, "help, help I'm being oppressed" and all, but it's usually not without reason.)

Maybe Tasers aren't a magic bullet but they're better than real bullets and give the police a 'ranged' option when attempting to deal with situations.

And no i'm just a MOP, not a cop.

Uncle Badger said...

Ah, but what if he'd had a tactical nuclear device in his pocket! There's no point taking risks, is there?

And that little old lady? She might have had an Uzi in her shopping bag. Best be on the safe side and whack the old cow with a few million volts, just to be on the safe side, eh, Sarg?

So many maybes, but that's not going to bother trigger-happy Roboplod, is it?

PJH said...

"OK but what if he did have a real gun in his pocket..."

Oh stop it with the "what if's" - what if he had a nuclear weapon in his pocket?

What if he had a Mars Bar in his pocket?

"What if" is not a reason to arm the police force.

Hexe Froschbein said...

That's the right idea -- why not just abolish the cops totally whilst we're at it, since there is all this police brutality and also too many cops get seriously hurt on the job nowadays, and so on and so, let's not take those unreasonable risks anymore at all, let's join hands and sing Kumbaya instead!

8():

WV: hydra

SBC said...

"They could have come on in plain clothes and scoped it out"

BOLLOCKS! Sorry Mr Gerber but if the Police did that and in the meantime the whackjob went Waco then the Daily Xenophobe would have had a field day: "ARMED OFFICERS AT SCENE STOOD BY AND LET THE TOOTING MASSACRE HAPPEN. Hard Working Brits mown down on way to work-police watched."

I hate sounding like a Gadgetista but...

SBC said...

"let's join hands and sing Kumbaya instead!"

Probably be as effective as the present system and a damn sight cheaper.

Martin said...

Is Mr Gerber complaining because the tasers didn't work? Otherwise I don't see what he's getting all delicate about. It would appear that the police did their job properly and no-one got hurt.

Anonymous said...

OK, agree - "what if" isn't a reason in itself, but quite a lot of 'what ifs' are 'what happened'.

Tasers are (when they work!) a way of quickly incapacitating someone without having to get right on top of them, or giving them opportunity to attack first.

And in any case police are routinely armed - they have pepper spray and batons. Being whacked with batons until you give up is probably going to do more damage than a Taser.

Anonymous said...

Julia,I am on shift at 7am tomorrow.Please come out with me and you can,with your 20/20 hindsight,point out people that are happily mentally ill.I won't taser them.Could you then point out the nutters that are very dangerous and give me permission to taser them.Please make this decision in a split-second which is all the time police normally have.If you get it wrong please expect to be sniped at by internet bloggers who have never done anything braver than filling the photo-copier with toner.
"What if" is exactly the reason we need them.You have house/life/car insurance don't you? Hopefully you will never use them but "what if?".
Jaded

MTG said...

Let us filter out the prejudicial innuendo and keep powder dry until more facts are known. What is far from clear, is whether any gun was actually seen on the man.

Witness 1 states: "He was just sitting on the train singing away and didn't look like he would harm a fly.."
Witness 2 states: "I didn't think he was doing anything wrong"

In the absence of precise sartorial details, no safe conclusion can be reached with respect to an alleged 'cowboy' status. The subjective comparison with the atypical outfit worn by Sutherland's 'Doc' character, amounts to nothing.

Anonymous said...

I have used CS against violent drug fuelled suspects and it had no effect. We don't have 'pepper spray'. When they don't feel any pain, baton strikes are not much use either.

You know full well that there are armed criminals out there, people are getting shot and stabbed. Forgive me for not wanting that to happen to me. I would welcome the opportunity to have taser.

Soldiers have negligently discharged their weapons and have killed colleagues in friendly fire incidents. Let's take weapons off them, that afghan at the side of the road might not be about to shoot, what if etc..

A report of someone with a gun....yep lets walk up and ask him to niceley come with us. The feelings of the other members of the public might be upset, but i'd be a damn sight more upset over the death of a colleague who has gone in too soft.

Each to their own and agree to disagree and all that.

Hogdayafternoon said...

First of all, Bobo, a former police colleague of mine (decorated for his act of self preservation that was defined by others as `bravery` - something of an understatement) restrained a man who had murdered a customs and excise investigator by shooting him, using a pistol concealed in his jacket pocket - but that point aside, there are thousands of legally held firearms out there in UK PLC and sightings of guns was always responded to by unarmed officers during my 30 yr tour of duty, until or unless there was reasonable suspicion that it might be a real weapon - but defining `reasonable suspicion`, therein lies the rub

Ranter said...

The guy must have been acting strangely because he got sectioned! Do you know how difficult it is to get sectioned under Sec 136 MHA? As much a the Gadget praetorian guard annoy me, on this occasion i can't see what the old Bill did wrong?

JuliaM said...

"Well it's not as if tasers are harmful or anything is it?"

They are known as the 'less-lethal option' for a good reason...

"Maybe Tasers aren't a magic bullet but they're better than real bullets..."

Would they have shot him if they'd been armed with real guns? There's the assumption that 'it's just a taser', made by many, not just police.

"That's the right idea -- why not just abolish the cops totally whilst we're at it..."

Who'd notice, in some areas? ;0

" Otherwise I don't see what he's getting all delicate about. It would appear that the police did their job properly and no-one got hurt."

I think there will be questions raised about this case, quite rightly. Perhaps NOT charging in like they were playing MW3 would have helped? Who knows.

And yes, it's easy to criticise in the aftermath, I know.

JuliaM said...

""Julia,I am on shift at 7am tomorrow.Please come out with me and you can,with your 20/20 hindsight,point out people that are happily mentally ill.

Thanks for the offer!

I appreciate it's a 'what if' situation but that this does seem to have been overkill, which I could understand AFTER the other incident, but not before...

None of the other passengers seemed to have concerns about him, except the one who called police. So a quieter approach might have been better for all concerned.

"You know full well that there are armed criminals out there, people are getting shot and stabbed. "

As there are in other countries, yes their police don't seem to be armoured like two-legged tortoises. I passed one in Southend High Street the other day who looked like, if he'd fallen over, he'd never be able to get up!

The US is full of guns, yet apart from the SWAT teams, their cops seem quite, well, normal.

"...but defining `reasonable suspicion`, therein lies the rub"

Indeed!

"The guy must have been acting strangely because he got sectioned! Do you know how difficult it is to get sectioned..."

Hmmm, I wouldn't use that as justification after the fact - it seemed to last about as long as the taser!

Yes, I know, it's the 'Mail'. But even so, something not quite right about this one.

allcoppedout said...

You don't need 20:20 hindsight to do a job right, however difficult. I was once given orders to disarm before confronting a possibly armed terrorist (just a pissed up Paddy, so it turned out). Looking back,what was the blind foresight of the idiot in command? That it was better to lose me that have to fill in 'shots fired' paperwork? I reflected in hindsight on idiot orders by such tossers and ignored him.
I would similarly have ignored the feeble advice of the complaining civvies had they been able to give it in advanced of getting peeved by officers doing their job -unless, as Melvin points out, the information is just smoke and mirrors.

Lerxst said...

Ah, got to love the people jumping to defence of the police with arguments that boil down to: he might have had a gun; some people out there are armed criminals after all; if he looks a bit dodgy I have the right to tazer him, and hey 'he was looking at me in a funny way...'

The day the police are routinely armed with tazers I should be able to carry an uzi for self-defence.