Police from across Australia will share ideas and lessons on the use of Tasers at an international forum opening on Queensland's Sunshine Coast today. The Queensland Police Service is hosting the event.[LINK]
Setting appropriate 'Taser Use Policy' is extremely easy, once you start with the correct assumptions:
1) The stun gun salesmen are not to be trusted. They are not true friends of the law enforcement community. If you make the mistake of naively accepting their advice, you will experience nothing but grief.
2) Tasers are not reliable weapons. There are constant news reports about ineffective taser deployments, reports of subjects pulling out the darts, and reports of some subjects even laughing-off the effects. Obviously a dart can miss, but these reports include other unexplained failures. These reports, from the real world, indicate that policy should consider this level of ineffective deployments in determining when use of such an unreliable weapon might be considered rational.
3) Tasers can kill. Directly. Even with healthy adults. But perhaps even more so with those already in crisis. Even Taser International has been forced to acknowledge the risk of death (Training Package, 1 May 2010), but they continue to downplay the magnitude of the risk.
4) Tasers are a form of torture. Oh sure, when they work they can be used to incapacitate, but note this: they accomplish this using electrical shock that is simultaneously excruciatingly painful. This electro-torture is part of the equation; failing to consider the pain as part of policy would be a sub-human decision. (If you get your jollies causing people to suffer excruciating pain, then please find another line of work.)
Combining the above, it becomes obvious that tasers are being overused, misused, and abused.
The remaining slice of taser deployments that are simultaneously rational, useful, moral, ethical, legal, and practical is actually very thin.
After the Canadian Braidwood Inquiry, use of tasers in B.C. dropped by a huge ratio, something like 90%.