Scrabulous tips for jargon enthusiasts
This week's House of Commons public safety committee meeting on Taser usage was a veritable cornucopia of police phrases and euphemisms, courtesy of committee members and witnesses including the co-founder of Taser International Tom Smith.
Here's a selection:
Excited Delirium - a controversial term (not medically recognized) used to explain the apparently extremely agitated condition of someone held by police who later dies in custody.
Sudden In-Custody Death Syndrome - also controversial, this term is similarly used when people die in custody after appearing extremely agitated, where there's typically no apparent cause of death other than conflicts with police.
Pain Compliance - inflicting pain to get someone to do what you want.
Taser Creep - a perceived trend in policing where Tasers are used sooner than the Use of Force Continuum would allow for.
The Use Of Force Continuum - generally accepted standards for police on how much force to use on suspects in any given situation.
ASP - an acronym for Armament Systems and Procedures. ASP, Inc. is a weapons maker known for its telescopic police batons, which in turn are known as ASPs.
O.C. Spray - pepper spray. The O is for Oleoresin (an oil and resin plant extract) and the C is for Capsicum (a chemical from the plant group which includes chili peppers.)
Taser Cam - a new attachment for Tasers which can record whatever happens whenever they're used.
Polyester Pile - police slang for a lo-fi but effective way to subdue a suspect. Five or six officers (traditionally wearing polyester uniforms) jump onto their suspect all at once.
Taser - the name itself is an acronym. It's from a title in an old series of novels for young people featuring the character Tom Swift. The book "Tom Swift and his Electric Rifle" inspired Taser's creators to come up with their own middle initial for Swift and thus spell the name of their new product. And so Tom. A. Swift. Electric. Rifle. became Taser.
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