Well it’s been a while since the old taser debate flared on htmf, found this on the net tonight the old commissioner of the RCMP has weighed in, having decided that perhaps the tasers should be put away after all…

Though purely for image reasons more than anything else it seems…


Ah, it’s been a year of such stories.  For example: 

“The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Wednesday it would curb the use of Taser stun guns after the federal force’s watchdog issued a stinging report accusing officers of zapping suspects unnecessarily.”

nationalpost.com/news/canada … ?id=596988

“While the RCMP is on the hot seat at the inquiry probing the use of Tasers in British Columbia following the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, documents from the Mounties show their use of stun guns has more than doubled across Canada between 2005 and 2007.”

nationalpost.com/news/canada … ?id=525374

"The majority of the incidents took place in western Canada where the force does a lot of front-line policing – Quebec and Ontario have their own provincial forces.

About a third of the RCMP use of Tasers occurred in B.C., the province where Mounties deployed their 50,000-volt weapon the most. The use of Tasers in B.C. jumped from 218 incidents in 2005, to 406 in 2006 and a high of 496 in 2007.

When you look at the use of Tasers per capita, B.C. still comes first in the country with 11.26 incidents per 100,000 people. P.E.I. comes second with 11.18 incidents per 100,000 people, followed closely by Manitoba at 10.83, New Brunswick at 10.78, Saskatchewan at 10.76 and Alberta at 10.64. "

Like I said before, RCMP officers are more likely to use Tasers than other police forces.  Can somebody who knows these things explain the “force model” ?  Is the RCMP one much different than other the model other forces use?  For example, I know the RCMP doesn’t classify the Taser as an impact weapon, so it can be used in incidents before the club, or physical force, right?  Do other police forces classify it that way too?

I think there was a public perception that the Taser was a non-lethal alternative to using a gun.  But the RCMP seem to classify it as an alternative to, well, what else is classified as “non-impact” ?  Talking to a suspect?  Verbal warnings?  Shouting?  Can somebody clarify that?

Use tranquilizers.

The end.

People tend to think these things work in a linear fashion and it doesn’t work that way. It’s not a case of if you can use a baton you can’t use a taser. The entire model overlaps itself. Here is a typical example of a Canadian use of force model. The RCMP’s version is very similar:


It’s pretty easy to use. Start on the left, pick a subject’s action and then move over and down to see what options would be authorized.

Notice that in this model, the taser would be available to use against someone who was actively resisting you. Think about the definition of “actively resisting” for a second and you will figure out why the taser get’s used so often.

you ever watch cops… its funny because they will re hit the guy over and over with a taser  saying “hit him again, he is resisting” poor guy is twitching not resisting, he just shit his pants. getting hit 3 times.

Thanks for posting that, CrazyMike.

[quote=“CrazyMike”]Notice that in this model, the taser would be available to use against someone who was actively resisting you. Think about the definition of “actively resisting” for a second and you will figure out why the taser get’s used so often.

Is it true that until about a very short time ago, the taser was available to RCMP officers at the “passive resistance” level?  Is that the same level at which other forces can use it?  I note that now the RCMP have a new policy that says that it can only be used against active resistance, and that this is a change.  What I can’t find, though, is somewhere that says the RCMP officers could use it against passive resistance.

If so, that would explain a lot. 

Ah, answered my own question:

March 23, 2008, Vancouver Sun:  "The RCMP has changed its Taser policy and now trains officers only to use the weapon when a person exhibits “active resistanceâ€

There are too many “what-if’s” to give you perfect examples, but here’s one example:

A person is causing a disturbance in a restaurant. He’s been asked to leave by the manager but refuses. The police are called. They ask him to leave and he refuses. Eventually it progresses to the point where the police decide to arrest him. They do so but he still is sitting in his chair, refusing to move.

By sitting there, refusing to follow the lawful direction of the police officer, he is passively resisting.

Now the officer grabs him by the arm to get him out to the car. The subject pulls his arm out of the officers grasp. That is an active resistor. It’s about as low level of an example as I can think of right now, but it still fits the definition.

Within every level of subject there is a lot of variance between the lowest level and the highest level. This is why on the use of force model there is a lot of overlap between one tool to the next.

Ok, that’s good clarification.  Thanks.

But I find a couple of things surprising:  RCMP officers were apparently trained that the Taser was to be used against passive resistance, and that’s only changed a few months ago.  I also find it surprising that they changed their policy – that’s an admission that it was wrong to have a policy of using the Taser against passive resistance.

Now, I’ve spoken with a couple of non-RCMP police officers in the last year or so.  I wish I had asked about the passive resistance and active resistance thing.  But the impression I had was that Tasers were only used against those actively resisting, so I’m surprised it was official RCMP policy that Tasers were ok for passive resistance.

In your example, the RCMP could use the Taser when he’s just sitting there, ignoring the cop’s orders.  Now they’ve changed their policy so that they can only use the Taser after there’s active resistance, like you’ve described.

My personal opinion is that when all is said and done tasers will move even higher on the use of force model. They will move up to the assailant level. Tasers are far too useful to remove completely from use, but now that we know more about the dangers of using them they be classified accordingly.

OK, on the passive resistance side of things, and back to CrazyMikes example, if the restaurant customer that was asked to leave simply went limp when grabbed by the cop, would that be passive resistance? Remember it is far harder to carry a limp human than a rigid human (not resisting). A larger person could present quite a challenge to a smaller cop.

Just wondering,

There is a reason why professional protesters just sit there arm in arm and let the police deal with them. It’s because they are trained to stay within the “passive resistor” category, thereby limiting the kind of force that can be used against them.

Remember. Every use of force incident is driven by the subject and the subject’s actions.

But according to the recently changed RCMP model and policy, as well as their training, it was ok to use the Taser on passive resistance. 

So if a “profession protester” just sat there, they could still be zapped according to RCMP policy and training.

That explains so much.

Found this online at rcmp.gc.ca//ccaps/cew/imim_e.htm

III. Categories of Resistance of Individuals

In the inner portion of the Incident Management/Intervention Model, potential levels of resistance of suspects are noted. The following defines the expected behaviours of individuals displaying each of the levels of resistance included.

  1. Cooperative:
    There is no resistance. The person responds positively to verbal requests, commands or activation of a police vehicle’s emergency equipment… The person willingly complies.

  2. Non-Cooperative:
    There is little or no physical resistance. The person does not comply to the officer’s request. This can be done through verbal defiance with little or no physical response or failing to pull their vehicle over and stop when an officer activates the police vehicle’s emergency equipment. This may include: refusal to leave the scene, failure to follow directions, taunting officers, and advising others to disregard officer’s lawful requests.

  3. Resistant:
    The person demonstrates resistance to control by the police officer through behaviours such as pulling away, pushing away or running away. This can include a situation where a police officer activates a police vehicle’s emergency equipment and the suspect fails to stop and attempts to evade apprehension by driving evasively.

  4. Combative:
    The person attempts or threatens to apply force to anyone, e.g. punching, kicking, clenching fists with intent to hurt or resists, threats of an assault. In the case of a person operating a vehicle, they attempt to collide with the police vehicle, another vehicle or a pedestrian.

  5. Person who shows the potential to cause grevious bodily harm or death:
    The person acts in a way which would lead the police officer to believe could result in grievous bodily harm or death to the public or the police:
    knife attack
    baseball bat
    use of firearm
    In the case of a person operating a vehicle, they collide with the police vehicle, another vehicle or a pedestrian.


The above is prior to the changes incorporating passive and active resistance which I couldn’t find.

In the middle grey area is the category of subject behaviour, the outer colours are the intervention options which start with Officer Presence.

Following the wheel it appears an officer can start using soft empty hand control at non cooperative to the lower end of resistant then go to harder empty hand control. If the taser is an intermediate device it can be deployed starting at the higher end of resistant into death or grievous bodily harm. Impact weapons don’t align with the resistant category so they shouldn’t be an available option.

There’s a lot more information about response options on the link.

But according to the recently changed RCMP model and policy, as well as their training, it was ok to use the Taser on passive resistance.[/quote]

Passive resistance would be at the lower end of the old Resistant category which Intermediate Devices doesn’t align with. Perhaps they changed the language to active and passive to eliminate any ambiguity.

Thanks for finding that mrt. The circle model is what all police forces are currently using. I tried to find one put out by the RCMP but didn’t dig deep enough. For the current discussion, tasers are included as “intermediate weapons”.

So what was the change that the RCMP guy was talking about?  He accepted the recommendations of the commission, and said that in the future, policy and training would no longer allow use of the taser on passive resistance.

So clearly there has been an admission that things weren’t right in the past, and therefore were changed.