UK police given permission to use stun guns
16.09.2004 11.32 am
LONDON - Police across England and Wales were given permission on Wednesday to use electric stun guns as a less lethal alternative to firearms but human rights group Amnesty International said the move was concerning.
The Home Office decision comes 1-1/2 years after five police forces began testing the guns from US company Taser, which deliver a temporarily disabling 50,000-volt electric shock.
"In the light of results of the trial, I have authorised chief officers throughout England and Wales to deploy Taser for use in the same strictly limited circumstances," said Home Secretary David Blunkett.
"Chief Officers can now make the M26 Taser available to authorised firearms officers in their force as a less lethal alternative for use in situations where a firearms authority has been granted."
Blunkett said studies showed the risk of death from the Taser was very low. British police first fired a Taser at a suspect in west London in August 2003, hitting a 30-year-old man brandishing two handguns.
But Amnesty expressed its concerns.
"There is a worrying potential for misuse of Tasers ... as they can cause immense pain at the touch of a button and leave little or no mark," said a statement.
"We would be seriously concerned if Tasers became a standard policing tool in the UK."
On local tv they just had a story about a fatality from a taser and mentioned and another where the subject had a small amount of meth in his system.