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10 Oct 2014
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The M26 Advanced Taser Gun

It looks rather like a child's ray gun you can buy from most toy stores.

But the M26 Advanced Taser is anything but child's play. Capable of sending a 50,000 volt charge through the victim's body, the Taser can bring a grown man toppling to the ground in a quivering heap in a micro-second.

Two wires are attached to darts which penetrate clothing. The weapon is powered by batteries.

It's been used for many years in the United States and Canada and now five police forces in England and Wales have been issued with them as part of a year long trial.

The hope is that they will provide an effective, non-lethal method of restraint against violent suspects. The Tasers could also reduce the number of incidents where police have been forced to shoot people they wrongly suspected of carrying firearms.

Northamptonshire police are in the forefront of moves to issue Tasers to specially-trained firearms.

Assistant chief constable Derek Talbot says the stun guns have been introduced only after rigorous testing. He says there's no proof that Tasers cause any long-term harmful side-effects.

And Paul Acres, from the Association of Chief Police Officers said:"Any use of force by a police officer has to be proportionate and reasonable. The Taser is intended to be a safer, less lethal option, the use of which is Human Rights compatible and may give police officers the ability to temporarily incapacitate and overpower, rather than injure someone."

But the human rights group Amnesty International has raised concerns, claiming that three deaths in the United States have been linked to the use of Tasers - though police in the States deny this and say other factors were to blame.

Amnesty wants more medical trials to be carried out before Tasers are used on British streets.

Assistant chief constable Derek Talbot says "...the stun guns have been introduced only after rigorous testing..."

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