The shock effect of the super Taser
The sight alone of the Taser XREP – or ‘super Taser’ – is enough to send chills down the spine of even the bravest person. Described by my colleague Oliver Sprague as a ‘shotgun that fires electric-shock bullets’, the XREP is a seriously dangerous weapon.
As Taser International describes in its own demo video at the end of this Daily Mail article – the XREP can be fired at much greater range than the traditional Taser (the X26, the weapon currently being deployed across UK’s police forces). This ‘super Taser’ can hit a person who is up to 100ft away.
Essentially, the shotgun fires a spiked projectile bullet which pierces a person’s skin and then sends a 20-second electric-shock through its target. This is four times the duration of the traditional Taser’s shock effect. Then, if that’s not bad enough, as soon as the person instinctively touches the place where he or she’s been hit, the projectile emits yet a second round of electric current – this time to the person’s hand.
The description alone sounds horrible, and when you watch Taser’s demo video, it looks like a pretty horrific experience as well.
We at Amnesty regularly come across people arguing that the police must have the right kind of equipment to protect themselves. We would thoroughly agree. The police must have the right tools at hand to protect themselves and the community at large. But I seriously question whether a shotgun that fires electric bullets from such a large distance is the right tool.
With the target so far away, there’s much greater risk that the spiky projectile may hit a person in the face, causing extremely serious injury. And the duration of the shocks is of major concern as well, given what we know about the impact of the traditional Taser’s five-second shock.
Worryingly today’s news reports are suggesting that the police are giving serious consideration to adding the super-Taser to their weaponry.
When the Taser X26 entered into use here in the UK, it was only in the hands of specialist firearms officers. At that time, we expressed our concern at the possibility that the weapon could be rolled out to a greater number of officers. Within less than five years, that’s exactly what we’ve seen happen.
If history does indeed repeat itself, I really do shudder to think what the streets of Britain will look like if the Taser XREP is widely deployed across UK police forces.
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