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Tuesday, 11 September, 2001, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Doctor backs police stun guns
Police want to introduce stun-guns into the UK
A West Midlands medical consultant is supporting a call by police to introduce electric stun-guns.

The stun guns, or tasers, are already common in America and police chiefs want the government to introduce them in the UK as soon as possible.

But the idea is a controversial one with human rights groups, who say they are too dangerous.

Tony Bleetman, a consultant at Birmingham's Heartland Hospital, has studied the weapon and believes it should be used by the police.

Michael Bleetman
Michael Bleetman: "Overwhelming pain"
"For certain high-risk situations I have absolutely no doubts that being shot with a taser is far safer for the victim than being shot with a bullet," he said.

The taser uses eight ordinary AA batteries to deliver a 50,000 volt shock down two barbed electrodes fired into the victim.

Mr Bleetman was shot with a taser as part of research into one of the few medical studies into the effects of tasers.

He told the BBC's Midlands Today programme: "I was approached by the taser company together with Northamptonshire Police and asked to conduct a review of all medical literature on electric weaponry.

Taser gun
"When I was shot with a taser I remained fully conscious throughout.

"I was aware of feeling the ground but not understanding why. The next sensation was that of overwhelming pain.

"I had concerns about the barbs being discharged into people's bodies at high velocity and I have concerns that barb strikes to eyes and other sensitive areas of the body do carry inherent risks."

If the police decide to introduce the weapons, each taser gun is likely to cost 200 and officers may only require a day's training to use them.

See also:

01 Aug 01 | UK
How the stun gun works
01 Aug 01 | UK
Police consider stun guns
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