28 March 2012
On 1 August it was revealed that the Metropolitan Police force (Met) in London has ordered "taser" stun guns from a US supplier. The Guardian newspaper reported that the export of such equipment has been banned by the UK government since 1997 as an electro-shock weapon because it could be "used for torture".
Amnesty has called for the Met to suspend plans to use the weapon until "there has been a proper, independent, medical investigation". The "taser" stun gun fire a two-pronged dart which carries 50,000 volts and is capable of piercing a leather jacket.
A leading authority on taser technology at York University, Brian Rappert, commented:
"Some independent studies were done about 30 years ago, but the weapons were very different then. The Metropolitan Police must be able to justify the decision to use the taser after considering independent reports about its safety. I do not think such independent research exists"
A report by Brian Rappert on taser technology, "Moralising violence - representations of electro-shock weapons", written in June 2001 is reproduced here: Taser technology (pdf file) for later information please contact: B.Rappert@exeter.ac.uk
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