NI: Amnesty cautions PSNI on stun gun proposals
Amnesty International today restated their opposition to PSNI proposals to introduce 50,000-volt electro-shock Tasers, as it made its submission to a police consultation (which closes on Monday 20th November). Amnesty International' s Northern Ireland Programme Director, Patrick Corrigan, said: “Our research into Taser use in the United States shows that here are serious doubts over the safety of these weapons, particularly when used on people with heart conditions or under the influence of drugs. These concerns have already led a number of American law enforcement agencies to rule against using the devices. "Our police officers do a difficult and dangerous job, but it is wrong for the Chief Constable to ask PSNI officers to use Tasers while so much is still unknown about their potentially lethal effects. The Policing Board and the Chief Constable must pay due heed to the need for further research and, meanwhile, resist the urge to introduce the weapons." Safety concerns around taser use are growing following the recent death of a Durham man after he was shot twice by police with a Taser and evidence that more than 200 people have died after suffering Taser shocks in the USA in the last five years. Recent studies have cited the need for more research into potential adverse effects from Taser shocks on people who are agitated or under the influence of drugs, or who are subjected to multiple or prolonged shocks. Find out more. Background: Tasers are powerful electrical weapons used by over 7,000 of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the USA. They are designed to incapacitate by conducting 50,000 volts of electricity into an individual's body. The electrical pulses induce skeletal muscle spasms that immobilise and incapacitate the individual, causing them to fall to the ground.