The Taser's place in the 'continuum of force'.
(I was asked to write an informative essay about Taser guns using information from newspapers and Met magasine- a magasine for police officers.)
American officers will be familiar with the Taser Stun gun, but here in England we're only just getting used to police armed with guns, patrolling streets.
What is a Taser stun gun?
The Taser gun has been described as a 'less lethal' alternative to traditional weapons. The Taser is a hand held weapon used to incapacitate a suspected criminal. This gun is coloured yellow to prepare suspects for the possible use. These Taser guns release two darts- barb-tipped up to 21 feet. These darts, once fired will deliver 50,000 volts into the suspect's body, rendering them helpless for up to 5 seconds.
Why are they being introduced?
Tasers were introduced to the NYPD 10 years ago and police here in England are being trained to use them.
The Taser guns are being hailed as having 'awesome stopping power' and obviously are not as dangerous as a pistol or machine-gun. There have been many mistakes made by police officers with guns, and often innocent members of the public are sometimes caught up in the action. The Taser guns have a laser attached which prevents anyone other than the suspect being fired at. The laser confounds any human error.
When are they used?
Taser guns are only used when a suspect is getting away or is posing a threat to others. However, the Taser is never used in the following circumstances;
When the suspect is armed
(This may cause their hand to contract and the weapon to fire)
If the suspect would come to harm when falling from the shock.
Also, the Taser is fired from...