Dear Greater Manchester Police,
cc: Bev Hughes, Police Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester
We are writing with regard to a video circulating on social media, seemingly filmed on the evening of Wednesday 6th May 2020. The video shows GMP officers deploying a taser on a man in front of his young child.
We are deeply concerned about this incident. The taser appears to be deployed without warning or justification, and without any regard to the lasting impact that witnessing such events will surely have on the child, and our wider communities – particularly those that are already familiar with police violence.
We know that this example of the excessive use of force via taser is not an isolated incident. Rather, it follows a national ramping up in the use of Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs), in which GMP seem to be leading the way. Indeed, Home Office data for 2018-19 indicates that GMP reported more incidents involving CEDs than any other force, with the exception of the Metropolitan Police.
As with police use of force generally, taser use is disproportionately used against Black people. In 2018-19, Black people were 10 times more likely to have a CED used against them by GMP than white people, relative to population size (Resistance Lab, 2020 unpublished). There must, therefore, be recognition of – and action to end – the racist (and classist) practices of GMP, and UK police forces more generally.
At a time when the police have been given unprecedented powers, this adds to an ever-growing body of evidence that the police simply cannot be trusted with such power, particularly where Black and Brown communities are concerned. As such:
- We call on GMP to suspend the officers in question, pending a full and thorough enquiry by the Independent Office of Police Conduct.
- Given that these problems are institutional, we also urge GMP not to individualise blame, but to consider how the force produces racist outcomes, specifically through use of violence. As such, we urge GMP to establish an urgent inquiry into the racially disproportionate use of CEDs in Greater Manchester.
- Finally, we urge GMP – and forces nationally – to review their use of CEDs, which have proven health and safety risks. CEDs have also been identified by Coroners as having caused or contributed to the deaths of Marc Cole, Jordan Begley and Andrew Pimlott.
Northern Police Monitoring Project, in partnership with:
Kids of Colour
The Monitoring Group
Institute of Race Relations
The Racial Justice Network
Justice for Marc Cole Campaign
Justice for Adrian McDonald Campaign
Sites of Resistance
Haringey Anti Raids Network
The London Campaign Against Police and State Violence