You may have arrived here via a direct link to a specific post. To see the most recent posts, click HERE.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

RCMP slammed for secretive taser testing

January 17, 2009

B.C.'s government and the RCMP are being slammed for how they plan on testing older police Tasers.

Last month, B.C. Solicitor General John Van Dongen ordered all pre-2006 Tasers to be tested for possible defects. Independent tests showed some older weapons in the U.S. had electrical outputs higher than the manufacturer claimed was possible.

After the announcement, CTV News asked Van Dongen where the testing would be done.

"Well, the testing will be done by...through the normal means that police will use to test equipment," he told CTV's Peter Grainger on Dec. 9.

But the current police Taser testing is being completed in total secrecy, something that concerns B.C.'s Civil Liberties Association.

"I think it would be in their best interest to be open and transparent about exactly how they are testing, exactly the scope," says David Eby.

The association is concerned the RCMP has contracted companies on its own and that there is no outside overseer validating the method of testing or evaluating the results.

"If the lab is not available to say 'here's what we're doing, here's the number of weapons we're testing, here's how many shots we're firing, here are the models we're testing' how can the public have confidence in that?" he asks.

MPB Electronics in Kanata, Ontario is one of the companies testing Tasers for the Mounties. MPB tells CTV they can't talk about the tests or the results, because the RCMP insisted they sign a non-disclosure agreement.

"To do it in secrecy and then maybe release the report -- maybe not release it depending on the results -- is totally inappropriate," says Eby.

BC Civil Liberties has written to B.C.'s Solicitor General, the Public Safety Minister in Ottawa and the RCMP.

The RCMP declined an interview with CTV, but in a statement say MPB Electronics is independent of the police, that non-disclosure agreements are standard practice, and that the testing has yet to start in earnest.

Taser International, the company that makes the stun guns, is also causing controversy. The company has offered to send its engineers to "assist" the Mounties in what is proving to be very secret process.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Peter Grainger

No comments: