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Stun guns worry experts

Published: 6:44PM Tuesday June 06, 2006 Source: One News

A group of prominent legal and medical experts are worried that Taser stun guns, due to be tested by police later this year, could lead to abuse and even death.

The stun guns, which send a 50,000 volt electrical charge into the victim, were allegedly tested by the US Air Force on pigs. Its manufacturer Taser International says the product is safe.

But campaigners are worried that the use of Tasers, which users consider to be a non-lethal alternative to other weapons, will become the norm, as in America.

"I think it's a very serious thing when we actually give an arm to the frontline police in this country. That's not been part of our tradition," says anti-Taser campaigner Sir Paul Reeves.

The group is calling for a stop to the police trial and is demanding a full independent inquiry as well as more research into the weaponry.

"We've got evidence from overseas showing that 167 have died from Tasers," says campaigner John Minto.

Police insist Tasers will not be used on protesters and the independent research they have sourced shows the guns are safe.

"I can absolutely reassure the coalition and any other stakeholder groups that there will be no relaxation over time, Tasers will only ever be used as an absolute last resort," says police Superintendent John Rivers.

An independent expert medical advisory group is set to review the police Taser trial scheduled for September.