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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Scottish police hit the beat with Tasers for the first time

April 21, 2010
By Paul O'Hare, The Daily Record

POLICE hit the beat armed with 50,000 volt Taser stun guns for the first time yesterday.

The controversial weapons are designed to help defuse volatile situations and protect officers from attack.

And from yesterday, they were issued to hand-picked Strathclyde beat officers in Glasgow city centre, Rutherglen and Cambuslang.

The areas were chosen as they have a high number of police assaults. Last year, more than 4000 officers were attacked in Scotland.

Human rights campaigners claim Tasers have caused hundreds of deaths in the US.

But Chief Constable Steve House blasted "hype and hysteria" and insisted the weapon was a safer alternative to batons and CS spray.

Previously, only firearms officers were authorised to use the guns, which have been deployed by Strathclyde cops 29 times since 2005.

On another 12 occasions, the mere shining of the red laser target dot on the offender has defused the situation.

Amnesty International claim Tasers have killed more than 300 people since 2001.

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