Study shows: Taser to be a reliable and useful tool for the police

Publication date 22.9.2017 13.50
News item

Study shows: Taser to be a reliable and useful tool for the police

Electroshock weapons (Tasers) save people from injury, as a study on the use of electroshock weapons in the work of the Finnish police shows. The recent study provides internationally unique information.

The police in Finland were one of the first in Europe to adopt the use of Tasers. Tasers were adopted as official use of force devices towards the end of 2005. The study shows that the Taser is a good tool for the police, enabling serious injuries to be avoided.

“In every fifth incident, the desired result is already achieved by threatening to use or issuing a warning of use,” says Chief Inspector Henri Rikander from the Police University College Chief.

Material: all situations of use in 2016

The study material consisted of all situations where a police officer used an electroshock weapon, i.e. a Taser, in Finland in 2016. The police recorded a total of 357 reports of use of a Taser. Over half of police assignments in which a Taser was used involved protecting the life and health of an individual. The majority of the assignments took place in the evening or at night. On every fourth occasion, the location of the incident was a private residence. A Taser was used on police premises in one in ten incidents.

The devices may carried and used only by specially trained officers.

“As many of 88% of situations where a Taser was deployed were resolved without personal injury or damage to property, and serious injuries were avoided entirely.” The study shows that Tasers are effective, useful and reliable tools for the police. Situations involving the use of force are not, however, without risk and there is always a chance that the police officer or target person will be injured,” Rikander points out.

Internationally interesting information

In securing civil order, the police have to intervene in a person’s fundamental and human rights. Every occasion on which use of force is used is registered in the Emergency Response Centre Data System. In order to be able to identify situations where force has been used, as well as reasons and consequences, a new data collection system has been developed.

Since the beginning of 2016, the Police University College has been tasked by the National Police Board with collecting information about the use of force by the police and any damage inflicted through forcible means not related to the actual situations in which force was used. The data collected on a daily basis is unique by Nordic standards and it has already attracted international attention.

“There has been intense debate about the use of Tasers. Sweden and Norway are currently considering adopting the use of Tasers and are testing the devices. As the majority of studies on the use of force have been conducted in the United States, the research data now available is necessary and important by European standards and particularly so for the Nordic countries,” Rikander says.

Article information: Nordisk Tidsskrift for Kriminalvidenskab VOL 104, NO 2 (2017), The Use of Electroshock Weapons by the Finnish Police in 2016/ Henri Rikander

The project to monitor the use of force by the police, and Polamk’s other research and development projects are accessible onlineunder research and development projects at .

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