[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 May, 2004, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
Stun gun use 'to stay restricted'
Stun gun
Tasers were trialled for 12 months
Police plans to extend the use of the electronic stun gun have been put on hold by the Home Office.

Five forces in England and Wales conducted trials of the weapon using specialist firearms officers and said it was an effective deterrent.

Now the police want the Taser to be used more widely to tackle serious violent disorder such as hooliganism.

But the government has questioned the gun's use and said that trials must continue in their present form.

'No decision'

"We support a limited operational pilot of Taser to allow the police to explore, in greater detail, the potential benefits of this technology," a Home Office spokeswoman said.

"No decision has been made about the acceptability or desirability of Taser deployment in the long term."

The spokeswoman said the Home Office would continue to work alongside the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in piloting the gun.

"We believe that the current trial should continue in its present form and should not, at this stage, be extended to other situations where a firearms authority would not be given, or for use by officers other than trained firearms officers.

"We are discussing with ACPO the possibility of other forces joining the current trial."

Stun gun infographic

The Taser temporarily disables offenders with an electric shock.

Less lethal

BBC Crime Correspondent Neil Bennett said: "The 12-month trial of the device showed that merely aiming the red dot laser sight at a suspect was usually enough to ensure compliance."

At present stun guns can only be used by authorised firearms specialists in situations where they would otherwise draw their guns.

But chief officers want to test it further by issuing the Taser to police who have to deal with serious violent disorder caused, for example, by excessive drinking or football hooliganism.

The gun, which fires two barbs delivering an electric shock, is classed as a "less lethal" option than conventional weapons.

Tasers have been used a number of times during the trial period but officers say they have not always worked.

The Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, Sir John Stevens, said last month that there was further debate to be had over the disciplinary process surrounding officers using them.

Met 'to extend use of stun guns'
29 Apr 04  |  London
Force to continue using stun guns
21 Apr 04  |  Oxfordshire
Police to start stun gun trials
10 Apr 03  |  Northamptonshire
Police consider stun guns
02 Aug 01  |  UK News
Police complete stun gun trials
19 Apr 04  |  Lincolnshire
How the stun gun works
01 Aug 01  |  UK News

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific