Police more likely to taser children in Lambeth and Croydon, according to new report


The number of cases has risen sharply over the past four years.


By Rachel Jenkins

Startling new figures show the number of children from South West London being tasered by the Met Police has increased significantly in recent years, despite a recommendation from a UN committee that the practice should be banned.

The data, released by campaign group Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE), shows that police in London tasered children 131 times between 2008 and 2012, with 40 per cent of those targeted coming from just four London boroughs, including Lambeth and Croydon.

The report also showed that youngsters from Lambeth are 30 times more likely to be incarcerated.

Stu Thomson, Youth Service Director at Knights Youth Centre in Clapham Park, said that their service works to keep young people out of trouble and to alleviate problems which could lead to them being detained.

“We work with a cross section of young people and provide long term services that young people can get involved with, including trips, health support, being appropriate adults at court cases and training and apprenticeships. We help support and help build young people’s self-worth, aspirations and opportunity,” he said.

“The financial situation and budget cuts are reducing the number of youth services in the borough, but I’m not sure it’s having a detrimental effect on young people yet.”

KYC currently provides a service for roughly 150 children aged between eight and 24 and has been running since 1936.

Paola Uccellari, CRAE’s director, said  the report shows that different approaches at local level can have a big impact on human rights issues facing children in London.

“Children living in the same city are experiencing vastly different treatment, depending on where they happen to grow up, and this is not always linked to obvious explanations such as high child poverty or crime rates,” she said.

The report published this week also showed that the number of stop and searches in the area had decreased by 66 per cent between 2009 and 2013. Meanwhile it found a noticeable variation in its use in different boroughs, with an average of 91 children stopped per week in Southwark, compared to 19 in Merton.

Photo courtesy of hradcanska, with thanks.

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