• Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project (BNLWRP). Research Report No. 7.

      Davison, N.; Lewer, N. (University of Bradford, 2005)
      The length of this Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project Report No.7 again reflects the interest related to non-lethal weapons from academics, research institutes, policy makers, the police and the military. A number of reports, particularly concerning the Taser electro-shock weapon, have been published from these sectors since our last BNLWRP Report No.6 in October 2004. Some, such as the Amnesty International (U.S. and Canada) have again raised, and stressed, the concerns about the safety of the weapon and the number of deaths associated with its use. Others, such as the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Human Effects Center of Excellence (HECOE), Human Effectiveness and Risk Characterization of the Electromuscular Incapacitation Device ¿ A Limited Analysis of the TASER. (March 2005) concluded that the Taser was relatively safe, but that further research was needed into potential bio-effects, and for continual development into a safer weapon. Reaction to these reports was mixed. Some US legislators called for limitations on the use of Tasers, more accountability, and the detailed recording of incidents in which they were used.1 Others called for a ban on their use until more testing was carried out regarding their potentially harmful effects. A number of US police forces stopped the use of Taser, slowed down the deployment and ordering of the weapons, reviewed their rules of engagement and reporting, and revisited their operational guidelines. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) published the Electro- Muscular Disruption Technology (EMDT). A Nine-Step Strategy For Effective Deployment. (April 2005) as a response to these growing concerns. Certain elements of the media, especially The Arizona Republic2 and others, took a hostile view of what they considered the scandal of the number of deaths and associated serious injuries caused by the Taser. Taser International challenged allegations that their weapon was directly responsible for these deaths and quoted reports, such as the Madison Police Department report (February 2005), the study by McDaniel, W & Stratbucker, R & Nerheim, M & Brewer, J. Cardiac Safety of Neuromuscular Incapacitating Defensive Devices (January 2005), and the U.K. DOMILL Statement (March 2005) to support their view. The controversy continues. Other than Tasers, there are still few reports of the newer non-lethal technologies actually being deployed in operations. The exception to this is the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), which is now in widespread use in Iraq. Little additional information has appeared regarding the `active denial¿ weapon we have described in previous reports.
    • Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project (BNLWRP). Research Report No. 8.

      Davison, N.; Lewer, N. (University of Bradford, 2006)
      In the UK at present Taser electrical stun weapons can only be used by trained firearms officers in situations where the use of firearms is also authorised. But the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is asking for these `non-lethal¿ weapons to be made more widely available to other police officers. If this is agreed there will be significant implications for the use of force by police in the UK. In July 2005 the Home Office Minister, Hazel Blears, had stated that the Taser was a dangerous weapon and not appropriate for wider use. The rationale behind the deployment of `non-lethal¿ or `less-lethal¿ weapons, such as the Taser, is to provide police officers with an alternative to lethal force for dangerous and lifethreatening situations they face. Wider availability of such weapons should, it is argued, further limit the need to resort to lethal firearms and thereby reduce incidence of serious injury and death. Over the past few months senior police officers have issued public statements that the Taser weapon should be made available to all officers on the beat. They argue that because police are facing dangerous individuals on an everyday basis, the Taser is required to protect their officers and deal with violent offenders without having to call in a firearms unit in certain situations. A crucial point about this proposal is that it would represent a scaling up in the `visible¿ arming of police officers in the UK. It is claimed by opponents that such an extended use of Taser would actually result in an increase in the level of force used by police in the UK, a concern also echoed by the Independent Police Complaints Committee (IPCC) in the minute of their 27 April 2005 `Casework and Investigations Committee¿ meeting.