Monday, July 4, 2005

Restrictions on police stun guns

UK: The controversial Taser stun gun is a "dangerous weapon" which should not yet be issued to all frontline police officers, Home Office minister Hazel Blears has said.

Ms Blears said the Taser was not appropriate for use in "everyday circumstances" and that she would not want to see neighbourhood officers equipped with the weapon.

This is despite recent surveys [ruling class? police?], which have shown strong support for Tasers among frontline officers. [new toy?]

The Police Federation said around 80% of its delegates were in favour of rolling out their use because officers often required more than just "handcuffs and a truncheon".

At present only authorised firearms officers are allowed to use the stun guns - which deliver a massive, 50,000-volt disabling shock - as an alternative to conventional guns.

But Ms Blears told Police Review: "Taser is quite a dangerous weapon. It is a less lethal option other than firearms, but it is not an everyday weapon used in everyday circumstances.

"My feeling at the moment is that it is substantially different from handcuffs and a truncheon, and I would not want to see everyone on the streets having that kind of weapon.

I am concerned that officers sometimes come up against pretty violent individuals, and obviously I want to make sure they have sufficient protective equipment to make sure they are not in danger. But at the moment I am not convinced that every single police officer on a neighbourhood team should be equipped with a Taser."

Ms Blears said authorised firearms officers were equipped with Tasers because they were "trained in split second judgments". Providing all officers with an "array of weapons" would not help build a close relationship between the public and their neighbourhood policing team, she said.

G8 protesters face police stun-guns

Key points
* Taser stun-guns will be available to officers policing G8 summit
* Weapons blamed for deaths of 104 civilians in US and Canada
* Guns fire electric wires delivering 50,000-volt shocks

Key quote
* "Tasers are potentially lethal and inherently open to abuse because they leave no visible marks. There should be an open and independent inquiry into their safety and effects, and tight controls on their use - not a move towards wider deployment." - STEPHEN BALLINGER, AMNESTY

Story in full POLICE dealing with civil unrest during the G8 summit in Scotland will have in their armoury controversial weapons that have been blamed for the deaths of 104 civilians in the United States and Canada.

Sweeping stun guns to target crowds

Weapons that can incapacitate crowds of people by sweeping a lightning-like beam of electricity across them are being readied for sale to military and police forces in the US and Europe.

By Lethal No Option posted 4 July 05


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UK court rules to use evidence obtained by torture
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