North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb calls for ban on “barbaric” taser use on mentally ill

Norman Lamb MP is calling for the use of tasers on mental health patients to be banned. Picture: DEN

Norman Lamb MP is calling for the use of tasers on mental health patients to be banned. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

A former Government minister is calling for a change in the law to prohibit tasers being used on mental health patients.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb is making the case in Parliament for the use of electroshock weapons to be banned in mental health units.

Mr Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, is seeking to enforce the policy in an amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill, which will be debated for the final time in the House of Commons today.

He said: 'The use of tasers on people with mental illness is a barbaric practice which should have no place in any civilised mental health system.

'Psychiatric wards should provide a safe and therapeutic environment to support recovery, but there can be no more outrageous departure from this basic principle than targeting a mentally vulnerable person with an electroshock weapon.'

The move would follow the example of US states such as New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, where police officers are not permitted to enter a patient area in a psychiatric facility armed with any weapons including tasers.

Under new measures announced by the Home Secretary in March, police will have to record the ethnicity, age, location and outcome of the use of tasers, as well as other serious uses of force.