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Solicitor questions whether taser ‘was justified’ when used on girl, 14, in Harold Hill

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 October 2017

Taser use in Barking and Dagenham was the second-highest in the capital Pic: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Taser use in Barking and Dagenham was the second-highest in the capital Pic: PA Wire/Press Association Images

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A lawyer has said “it is difficult to see how the use of a taser could be justified”, after police discharged the weapon at a 14-year-old girl in Harold Hill.

Gracie Williams and Cassie Whittaker were waiting in Masefield Crescent, when they got into a row with two officers.

The police had been called to reports of a drunk woman swearing at customers in Masefield Off Licence at around 8pm on October 12, who the owner later said he thought was aged “around 30 or 40”.

The girls claim they were minding their own business, when the officers accused them of causing the commotion in the shop.

In the ensuing altercation the police restrained Cassie, and tasered Gracie, leaving her with marks on her chest.

The pair were arrested on suspicion of assault on police, actual bodily harm and being drunk and disorderly, and spent a night in the cells.

Sophie Khan, a solicitor who represents victims of taser-related injuries, said: “The use of the taser on children is known to be a greater risk.

“In this instance, when there is no report of a weapon and the children were not causing a threat to the officers it is difficult to see how the use of a taser on a 14-year-old girl could be justified.”

Ms Khan, who also runs the Police Action Centre, added: “As the long term effects of the use of tasers on children is not fully known, the police should not be using a taser on a child.”

A spokesman for the Met responded by saying: “An officer was injured in this incident and required hospital treatment.”

He explained that governance is designed to ensure all use of tasers are “monitored and that use is justified, proportionate and lawful”.

“This is reinforced at every level within an officer’s training,” the spokesman said.

“Tasers may be used in situations where the officer is confronted with violence or threats of violence.

“In such circumstances, the officer will use the National Decision Making Model to decide the most appropriate use of force.

“Taser is very likely to be the least injurious option.”

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