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Last Updated: Friday, 19 August 2005, 08:32 GMT 09:32 UK
Gwent Police adopt Taser stun gun
Taser 'stun-gun'
The guns will be introduced to officers on Monday
Gwent Police has announced plans for officers to use electronic stun guns to disable potentially violent criminals.

The Taser fires a 50,000 volt charge which goes through the body causing temporary incapacity.

There have been concerns about safety with US human rights campaigners who say they have caused 70 deaths there.

But Gwent Police chief superintendent Alun Thomas has said the taser is "a highly effective tool" that "leaves "no medical side effects."

"The Taser will give Gwent Police an added option," he said. "But it will not be one that will be taken lightly.

"The law abiding public will be reassured with the introduction of the Taser in helping us to defeat crime, by tackling dangerously violent criminals more quickly, safely and effectively."

In Taser we have a highly effective tool that quickly and efficiently tackles people who are a danger to the public or our officers,
Chief Superintendent Alun Thomas

But not everyone is convinced by its safety. On its website, Amnesty International has said: "Since 2001, more than 70 people are reported to have died in the USA and Canada after being struck by M26 or X26 tasers, with the numbers rising each year.

"While coroners have tended to attribute such deaths to other factors (such as drug intoxication), some medical experts question whether the taser shocks may exacerbate a risk of heart failure in cases where persons are agitated, under the influence of drugs, or have underlying health problems such as heart disease."

Micro-computer

But the Gwent force is convinced that the introduction is will provide a safe and effective addition in their battle against crime.

"The tests that were carried out by the other forces proved conclusively that in Taser we have a highly effective tool that quickly and efficiently tackles people who are a danger to the public or our officers," said chief superintendent Thomas.

"As is current practice with the use of other firearms in Gwent Police, authority to arm will need to be given by a high-ranking officer before the weapon can be deployed.

"The x26's micro-computer also records details on its use, ensuring that Gwent officers are fully accountable for his actions."

The tasers will be introduced by the force from Monday.


SEE ALSO:
Taser controversy refuses to die
30 Jun 05 |  Americas
Controls urged on 'lethal' Tasers
30 Nov 04 |  UK Politics
Chief constable hit by Taser gun
05 Jul 05 |  Manchester


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