Strathclyde officers issued with Tasers
SCOTLAND'S largest police force yesterday became the first in the country to introduce the controversial Taser stun gun.
Strathclyde Police has begun issuing specially trained firearms officers with the weapon, which delivers a 50,000-volt electric shock.
Other Scottish forces are expected to follow suit before the end of the year.
The move follows trials in a number of English police forces and research which led to chief constables being granted ministerial approval to introduce the weapon.
Strathclyde's Assistant Chief Constable Ian Learmonth said: "The trials were independently evaluated and the report on the operational trials concluded that the use of Taser 'helped secure a positive outcome to an incident, minimising the potential need for officers to deploy other, possibly more lethal technologies'.
"While Taser will always be deployed alongside conventional firearms and should not be seen as a replacement for such weapons, Taser will provide another less lethal option which may assist in the safe resolution of firearms incidents without recourse to more lethal force.
"Part of the pre-implementation plan has been to speak to as many interested groups as possible. These have included members of the medical community to ensure that immediate and effective support is provided to any person who is subjected to Taser."
While officers insist that Tasers are a valuable policing resource, some have raised questions about their safety.
Michelle Lowe, of Amnesty International, said: "In America and Canada, 130 people have died after being 'Tasered', so what we are calling for is extreme caution in their use and an independent rigorous inquiry into the medical impact of the use of Tasers."
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