More officers to be equipped with 'stun guns'

TASER stun guns are to be issued to more police in North Devon and Torridge following a national pilot scheme. In the coming weeks around 30 trained officers will be patrolling local streets with the weapons which fire twin barbs that deliver an electrica

TASER stun guns are to be issued to more police in North Devon and Torridge following a national pilot scheme.

In the coming weeks around 30 trained officers will be patrolling local streets with the weapons which fire twin barbs that deliver an electrical charge to immobilise violent or threatening offenders.

It follows a Home Office trial across several police forces, including Devon and Cornwall, which concluded the wider availability of Tasers would significantly reduce assaults on police officers and help resolve conflict situations. Until now the bright yellow gun-shaped devices were issued only to fire arms officers, but will now be available to others, including response officers.

Police reassured people there had been no increase in violent crimes in North Devon or Torridge.


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Inspector Vince Puffitt at Barnstaple Police Station said since Tasers had been issued to fire arms officers in 2004; they had been used in North Devon only on a handful of occasions.

"Its use is subject to very strict guidelines. The circumstances in which it can be used have to be necessary, proportionate and reasonable, while any occasion in which an officer uses Taser will be scrutinised."

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The weapon has a range of 20 feet. Its red dot laser sight is likely to give most offenders pause and its 50,000 volt charge causes a loss of voluntary muscle control, toppling the subject or freezing them in place.

"Recovery is almost immediate once the current is turned off and there have been no adverse effects to date in the UK," he said.

"Its value lies as much in its effect as a deterrent as in its actual use," added Insp Puffitt.

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