28 March 2006

PSNI extends Taser gun consultation period


28/03/2006 - 15:32:42

The Northern Ireland Policing Board today extended the consultation period over the introduction of 50,000-volt Taser guns following pressure from human rights campaigners.

Policing Board chairman Desmond Rea revealed that at a private meeting the board had decided to ask Chief Constable Hugh Orde to seek further opinion about his plans to purchase 12 Taser guns.

Board members agreed that the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PNSI) should undertake an equality screening exercise on the impact of the introduction of the weapons and to ensure that all groups were given a say on the limited introduction of the guns.

They also committed the Board to seeking the views of human rights advisers on the plan.

Earlier today Amnesty International claimed Tasers were lethal weapons which could kill children, the disabled, pregnant women and the mentally ill.

Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty International said: "Arming all PSNI officers with a potentially lethal device that delivers a 50,000 volt electric shock, causing the subject to collapse in intolerable pain, would not be a wise or welcome move."

SDLP Policing Board member Alex Attwood urged colleagues to take more time to consider the plan.

Democratic Unionist Board member Ian Paisley Junior supported the introduction of the weapon, arguing Tasers were designed to protect the public from suspected criminals.

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