Page last updated at 14:44 GMT, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 15:44 UK

Knife-bearers face Taser arrest

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Police said they will deal robustly with situations involving knives

Anyone carrying a knife on the street in Devon and Cornwall risks being shot with a Taser electric stun gun, police have warned.

The gun works by firing darts that release a 50,000-volt electric shock which causes temporary paralysis.

Police said they would deal with such situations involving knives "robustly".

The Taser is classed as a "less lethal" alternative to firearms, although the weapons have been criticised by human rights groups.

Strict regulation

Although knife crime in Devon and Cornwall has fallen by 10% in recent years, police said they would still employ the stuns guns if necessary.

Supt John Green of Devon and Cornwall Police said: "We'd like to make it clear that if you carry knives in the Devon and Cornwall area that we'll take it very seriously and deal with it very robustly.

"You stand a chance of being incapacitated and taken to the ground by use of a Taser."

The human rights group Amnesty has linked Tasers to about 70 deaths in the US, and mental health groups also fear they are being used too often.

But senior officers said training for non-firearms officers was thorough and strictly regulated.


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