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UK: Use of Taser XREP in Raoul Moat case was 'deplorable'

Amnesty International has today (27 Sept) described the decision by the Northumbria police to use the unauthorised Taser X-Rep projectile during the apprehension of Raoul Moat as ‘deplorable’.

The Taser X- 12 and the X-Rep had previously been found to be highly unreliable and inaccurate in Home Office testing.  Amnesty International wrote to the Newcastle coroner informing him of its concerns relating to the use of this weapon during the time of the Raoul Moat arrest.  The organisation warned the weapon had 'serious deficiencies' and had not passed Home Office assessments.

In its recently published report, the IPCC stated that the ‘effectiveness of the Taser X12 and the X-Rep was unknown” and later that the “minimum standard for approved devices was by no means met”.  The IPCC also criticised the training provided by Northumbria Police as “no more than a weak familiarisation of a device not approved by the Home Office.”

The IPCC report describes the decisions by Northumbria Police to use the weapons as “questionable”, claiming that they were “clearly aware that the Home Office had not authorised the use of the X12 Taser and X-Rep projectile for use in the UK by police forces”.

Amnesty International UK Arms Programme Director Oliver Sprague said:

“The decision to deploy a weapon which had not been fully approved by the Home Office is deplorable.

“It is also alarming that police officers were armed with a weapon when testing data had shown it to be highly inaccurate and highly likely to fail.  

“Lessons must be learned from this and no weapon should be deployed by any UK police force until it has been officially sanctioned by the Home Office and until officers have been trained to the highest standards.”

Notes to the Editor
In August 2009 and again in March 2010, there were concerns that the XREP may be rolled out to the UK. In 2008, a tripartite group which comprised Home Office Scientific Development Branch (DOMILL), the Canadian Police Research Centre and the National Institute of Justice (USA) funded an independent assessment of the mechanical, electrical and physical characteristics of the TASER XREP.

Read a full copy of the IPCC report (pdf)

In summary it found:
1.    Some rounds misfired
2.    Some rounds tested remained electrically active more than 5 minutes after being activated.
3.    There was a significant difference between batches of rounds

More information and interviews are available upon request.

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