Stun guns brought to Suffolk

TASER stun guns which temporarily disable suspects with a 50,000-volt charge were today set to be introduced in Suffolk for the first time.The weapon, which works by firing barbed probes from an electrical gun, causes the target's muscles to contract uncontrollably and confuses the body's nervous system.

TASER stun guns which temporarily disable suspects with a 50,000-volt charge were today set to be introduced in Suffolk for the first time.

The weapon, which works by firing barbed probes from an electrical gun, causes the target's muscles to contract uncontrollably and confuses the body's nervous system.

It is designed to subdue targets and uses compressed air to fire two darts that trail electric cables back to the weapon.

The £350 guns, which have a range of 21ft, have been used in the UK for around two years and are now due to be used by firearms officers in Suffolk.

One was recently used in the arrest of Yasin Hassan Omar, a London bombing suspect, in Birmingham.

Inspector Clive Benneworth, of Suffolk police, welcomed the introduction.

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He said: "It gives officers an additional and effective, less lethal option, when faced with potentially dangerous situations, helping them to keep both offenders and any vulnerable members of the public safe."

He added the Tasers would only be used in cases where it is the best option and where negotiation failed.

Although the Police Federation has backed calls for the weapons to be issued to all officers, a Home Office minister has claimed they are "inappropriate" for everyday use.

Hazel Blears said: "Taser is quite a dangerous weapon. It is substantially different from handcuffs and a truncheon, and I would not want to see everyone on the streets having that kind of weapon."

Mike Todd, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, is one of those who has experienced the full force of the Taser.

He allowed himself to be fired at by one of his marksmen in his campaign to arm regular patrols with Tasers, as well as police marksmen.

He said that the blast was something he did not want to experience again.

"I couldn't move. It hurt like hell," he said. "If I was carrying a weapon and about to attack I could not have done anything at all, which is why it's important we have them."

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