Previously published as: Police Studies: Intnl Review of Police Development
Incorporates: American Journal of Police
Online from: 1997
Subject Area: Industry and Public Sector Management
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|Title:||The Braidwood Commission reports on TASER use in Canada: an evidence-based policy review|
|Author(s):||Howard E. Williams, (Department of Criminal Justice, Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas, USA)|
|Citation:||Howard E. Williams, (2012) "The Braidwood Commission reports on TASER use in Canada: an evidence-based policy review", Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, Vol. 35 Iss: 2, pp.356 - 381|
|Keywords:||Braidwood Commission, Canada, Evidence-based public policy, Non-lethal weapons, Public policy, TASER|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/13639511211230101 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||The author wishes to thank Jocelyn Pollock, PhD, and J. Pete Blair, PhD, at Texas State University-San Marcos, and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable insight and advice.|
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to review the Braidwood Commission's two reports on the use of TASER conducted energy weapons in Canada and the death of Robert Dziekanski to determine whether the Commission's conclusions and subsequent recommendations constitute sound evidence-based public policy.
Design/methodology/approach – This study analyzes Commissioner Braidwood's eight findings from the first report regarding the medical implications of the use of TASER devices by comparing those findings to the body of scientific, medical, and technical literature on the physiological effects of TASER technology. Additionally, this study reviews the potential ramifications of the Commissioner's recommendations regarding the use of TASER devices in both reports.
Findings – Evidence from the existing literature does not support the Commission's findings regarding the medical risks of the use of TASER technology. Recommendations to restrict the use of TASER devices are unlikely to reduce arrest-related deaths, but they are likely to result in increased injuries to officers and suspects. Other recommendations, including training standards, testing requirements, reporting requirements, medical assistance, and research and review, are consistent with other reviews on the use of TASER technology and are necessary and appropriate to restore public confidence in police use-of-force.
Originality/value – The Braidwood Commission recommendations have had an immediate impact on the policies of several police agencies in Canada, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but this study is the first critically to review whether those recommendations constitute formulation of sound evidence-based public policy.
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