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Last Updated: Monday, 5 June 2006, 05:39 GMT 06:39 UK
New police weapon under spotlight
Taser stun guns are used by police forces in Britain
Taser stun guns are used by police forces in Britain
The potential risks of police using Taser guns are to be discussed at a seminar in Belfast.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is hosting the event to explore the proposed use of the "stun gun" by the PSNI.

The human rights watchdog has already expressed concern over their use.

In March, the Policing Board extended the consultation period over the introduction of Taser guns for the PSNI.

It had been proposed that Tasers be made available on a limited, pilot basis as a "less lethal alternative to the use of firearms in one-to-one situations".

Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Professor Monica McWilliams, said Monday's event would bring expert information to people in Northern Ireland about Tasers and facilitate discussion.

"While we are not opposed to police officers having access to appropriate, less lethal alternatives to firearms, so long as they are used in accordance with the principle of minimum force, there are genuine concerns about the safety of this particular technology," she said.

"We are particularly concerned about the potential risks to children, people with mental illness, older people and pregnant women."

However, American-based company Taser International has said they are non-lethal devices which deliver "a small amount of electricity that makes a person's muscles contract".

New police weapon causes concern
28 Mar 06 |  Northern Ireland

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