• Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project (BNLWRP). Research Report No. 4.

      Davison, N.; Lewer, N. (University of Bradford, 2003)
      Non-lethal weapons (NLWs) are explicitly designed and primarily employed to incapacitate personnel or material whilst minimising collateral damage to property and the environment. Existing NLWs include rubber and plastic bullets, entangling nets, chemical sprays such as OC and CS gas, and electrical stunning devices such as the `Taser¿ gun. New NLWs are on the way, which will include acoustic and microwave weapons, non-lethal landmines, malodorants, and sophisticated weapons developed through rapid advances in neuroscience and the genomics revolution. Most analysts would agree that there is a `legitimate¿ role for non-lethal weapons, both for civil and military applications. However there is considerable disagreement as to the operational effectiveness of NLWs, and the threat such weapons pose to arms conventions and international law. As usual, a balance has to be achieved where the benign advantages of developing and deploying non-lethal weapons are not outweighed by their more malign effects. In particular, emerging non-lethal technologies offer an increasing opportunity for the suppression of civil dissent and control of populations ¿ these are sometimes referred to as the `technologies of political control¿. There is a continuing need for sustained and informed commentary to such developments which highlights the impact and threats that these technologies pose to civil liberties and human rights. Because the last BNLWP Report was produced in August 2001, this edition is somewhat longer than usual so that key developments since then can be highlighted and summarised. Future BNLWRP reports will be published three times a year, and we welcome material to be considered for inclusion.