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Under the new standards – most of which will come into effect on Jan. 30, 2012 – police will be bound by law to only deploy Tasers in relation to the enforcement of a federal criminal law, and only when the subject is causing bodily harm, or when the officer is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that the subject’s behaviour will imminently cause bodily harm. Even when those thresholds are met, an officer is only prohibited to use that weapon when: no lesser force option has been, or will be, effective in eliminating the risk of bodily harm; and de-escalation and/or crisis intervention techniques have not been or will not be effective in eliminating the risk of bodily harm.
The provincial government has developed standardized training for police officers in crisis intervention and de-escalation that all front-line police officers, recruits and cadets will be required to complete starting in January, 2012. Also, automated external defibrillators will now be made available to officers equipped with Tasers.
The full list of Braidwood Recommendations, and the provincial government’s responses to them, has been attached below.
The provincial government appointed retired Justice Thomas Braidwood to lead two inquiries – one into the use of conducted energy weapons in British Columbia, and a second into the circumstances surrounding the death of Robert Dziekanski. Dziekanski died in October, 2007, at the Vancouver International Airport, after an RCMP officer used a Taser against him in an attempt to try to subdue the man after bystanders had reported that he had become agitated and violent.
Braidwood concluded from his inquiry that the use of the weapon on Dziekanski was not justified in those circumstances. His full report can be viewed online at http://www.braidwoodinquiry.ca/report/P2Report.php.
The provincial government will also enact a new standard concerning video surveillance in police buildings in response to the death of Ian Bush. Bush, a resident of Houston, B.C., was shot and killed by an RCMP officer on Oct. 29, 2005, while in police custody.
One of the controversies surrounding that lethal use of force was that the officer who shot Bush, Cst. Paul Koester, had failed to turn on the cameras inside the interviewing room where the shooting happened. Following the incident, The Commission for Public Complaints (CPC) recommended that the RCMP install automated closed-circuit television recording equipment in every detachment in areas where prisoners are dealt with and released.
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