Page last updated at 10:20 GMT, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 11:20 UK

'Torture' law stops Taser supply

Taser stun gun
Guernsey Police has declined to reveal how long supplies will last

Guernsey Police may have to abandon the use of Taser stun guns because the UK government will not allow the importation of more ammunition.

The Home Department, which acquired the equipment more than three years ago, has been told it will not be allowed to replenish or replace its stock.

Guernsey Police said it was a "very difficult predicament".

But the UK has ruled stun guns cannot be exported outside the European Union as they could be used for torture.

As Crown dependencies, the Channel Islands are not part of the UK and are outside of the European Union.

Long term, the prognosis is not good
Insp Jean-Pierre Le Breton, Guernsey Police

The Taser device uses compressed air to fire two darts with a five-second 50,000-volt charge which temporarily disables a suspect.

It is seen as a more effective, but "less lethal", alternative to conventional weapons.

Insp Jean-Pierre Le Breton from Guernsey Police said it was a difficult situation for the force.

"Long term, the prognosis is not good if we run out of ammunition," the inspector told BBC News.

"We may then have to consider resorting to lethal force, which is something we don't want."

Export licence

Insp Le Breton said the Taser is used regularly by the force, but declined to reveal how long supplies would last for.

A statement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "As the Channel islands are outside of the EU (for customs purposes) tasers exported from the UK require an export licence, and one will not be issued.

"For someone on the Channel Islands to attempt to procure Tasers from another country (ie a brokering transaction) would also require a licence from the UK authorities. Again this will not be issued because of the ban under the torture regulation."

Home Minister Geoff Mahy said the deadlock needed to be sorted.

He told BBC News he intends to write to the UK government asking if the Channel Islands could be looked at as a "special case".

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Police to use 50k volt stun guns
23 Jul 06 |  Guernsey

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