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Jamaica: Cops demand tasers for clashes with mentally ill

Rank-and-file police personnel are requesting the provision of non-lethal weapons to manage explosive face-offs with mentally ill persons who are armed and dangerous, and which often have fatal consequences.

Chairman of the Police Federation, Corporal Rohan James, said the police have requested non-lethal weapons such as tasers when dealing with mentally ill persons who threaten and harm the public with weapons including machetes and knives.

He also revealed that the police have not received special training to deal with the mentally ill.

At a press conference last week, Hamish Campbell, assistant commissioner of Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), reported that there were 35 incidents in 2020 involving the police where persons who possessed a weapon other than a firearm were shot and killed or injured.

Twenty-two of the incidents involved persons of unsound mind.

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