Officers should be commended for showing restraint

Although the terms "Taser" and "stun gun" are used interchangeably, they are different (Why weren't stun guns used to immobilise suspect?, by Mr Andrew Seow Chwee Guan ; Aug 8).

A Taser shoots probes at a person, while a stun gun has prongs that must make direct contact with the person. Both devices can be a challenge to deploy in rapidly escalating and close-range situations. And they can prove deadly to suspects with certain health conditions, such as heart problems or arrhythmia.

The use of such devices in the United States has been linked to a number of high-profile deaths.

Generally, police officers the world over have been advised to use such devices only when they are dealing with extremely aggressive or combative suspects.

When police officers make an arrest, caution is exercised so that they do so with minimal injury and trauma to the suspect, no matter how serious his alleged crime may be.

It is easy for observers to be critical of how police officers handled the suspect in the recent Ang Mo Kio incident (Man who scuffled with policemen charged with assault; Aug 6). But we must commend the officers for exercising great restraint and not being trigger-happy like the cops we see in the movies.

Michael Loh Toon Seng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2017, with the headline 'Officers should be commended for showing restraint'. Print Edition | Subscribe