British police to be equipped with 10,000 Tasers
Policemen and women throughout the United Kingdom are to be equipped with 10,000 Taser weapons at a cost of £8M. 30,000 police officers will be trained to use the weapons. According to The Times, the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith will announce the decision on Monday. She is proud of the fact that not all police officers carry guns in the UK, "and I want to keep it that way."
The weapons will be used to protect the police from violent individuals and to avoid the use of firearms. Tasers incapacitate for a short period using a 50,000 volt electric shock, causing enormous pain and a temporary collapse of the target. There is some dispute over how dangerous they are; some experts opine that they can cause death under certain conditions. This is, however, disputed by Taser International, Inc. Critics also claim that the electric shock weapons reduce the threshold at which violence is employed and that they are also used unnecessarily to torture and humiliate. Human rights organisations warn that they can be used as weapons of torture, as they leave no sign of injury.
To date only a few policemen and women have been equipped with the weapon, which is designated non-lethal. Following a one-year trial in some UK police forces, in May, the Taser weapons were designated a success by the Home Office, with the Home Secretary expressing the opinion that it was her duty to equip police with them. During the trials, in 75 per cent of cases, merely drawing or aiming the weapons was sufficient to stop a violent individual. The electric shock weapon has proved to have a "significant deterrent effect".