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Last Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008, 21:59 GMT
PSNI now using Taser 'stun guns'
Taser gun
Taser guns hit their target with 50,000 volts
Specialist units in the PSNI will be armed with Taser guns from this weekend.

The so-called 'stun guns', which hit their target with 50,000 volts, are already used by police in other parts of the UK and the Republic.

Monica McWilliams of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission said she still had grave concerns.

"Tasers should not been deployed until the equality and human rights impacts have been fully assessed." she said.

"We are surprised that the police are deploying this weapon after only a two-day training programme. There remain genuine concerns about the safety of this particular technology.

"As such, concerns have yet to be addressed around the potential for violating articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the right to life and inhumane treatment."

  Assistant Chief Constable for Operational Support Roy Toner, who is in charge of the pilot, said that officers had been trained to the highest national standards.  

"I believe Taser will save lives - it gives the police service a greater range of tactical options and actually advances human rights.  

"In situations where there is a real risk to life or serious injury to officers, members of the public or the criminal, Taser remains a much more preferable alternative to shooting someone with live ammunition," he said.

'Observed'

A spokeswoman for the Policing Board said its human rights advisor had observed the PSNI's Taser training.

"The advisor is currently seeking clarification on aspects of the training to allow a final opinion to be provided," she said.



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