Possible effects of the use of Tasers on human health

Criminology and victimology / Mentally disturbed people

Possible effects of the use of Tasers on human health

A systematic literature review (full text only available in Dutch)

Summary

Given that police personnel must regularly deal with violent people in potentially dangerous situations, appropriate equipment is important. The use of firearms comes with risks for the offenders as well as the police officers and in some cases also for bystanders. In recent years, there has been a shift to alternative, effective, "less-lethal" law enforcement tools such as conducted electrical/"electroshock" weapons, pepper spray and batons. In this report, the focus lies explicitly on what we call a ‘Taser’.
In the present systematic review, the following research questions are addressed:

  1. Are there studies of sufficient scientific quality on the possible effects of the use of Tasers on human health in the international literature?
  2. What is the probability of a serious injury or serious complications when being exposed to a Taser? Which risk groups can be distinguished?
    1. What are the possible risks for specific groups such as people with psychological problems and agitation, pregnant women, the elderly, drug or alcohol intoxicated individuals, or people with a heart condition?
    2. Are the possible health risks associated with the duration of the electric current and the affected body location?
    3. What specific health effects could occur in each of the organ systems?

Publication data

Author(s):
Dückers, M., Baliatsas, C., Gerbecks, J., IJzermans, J.
Organization(s):
Nivel, WODC
Place of publication:
Utrecht
Publisher:
Nivel
Year of publication:
2019

Order information

Address:
Nivel (Nederlands instituut voor onderzoek van de gezondheidszorg)
Phone:
030 2729700
Fax:
030 2729729
E-mailaddress:
nivel@nivel.nl
Website:
www.nivel.nl