"I think at the very least we need to spread the use of Tasers more widely than they are at the moment.
"To have them available to all patrolling officers would be a very good option, and at the moment would appear to be a very safe option.
"Though we have a significant number of firearms officers to respond to incidents, it would be more effective to have Tasers more widely available."
Source - http://icliverpool.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0100regionalnews/tm_objectid=15939537%26method=full%26siteid=50061-name_page.html
WHAT IS A TASER?
A Taser is an electronic stun gun. Technically they are classed as a 'less lethal' alternative to a normal firearm, however concern about deaths resulting from their use is growing in the US where they have also been issued to beat officers.
A taser works by firing a 50,000 high voltage electrical charge in to the human body. As a 0.06 amp current is enough to kill a human the voltage is extremely high but the current is extremely low, usually around 3 milliamps. The high voltage allows the electrical charge to penetrate skin resistance and send the charge through the bodies natural neural pathways confusing and disarming the persons nervous system which in turn confuses the brain. The result is the body is subject to a brief but intensely painful paralysis followed by the triggering of random muscles, spasm, and convulsion in many areas of the body.
More on tasers - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taser
THE LESS LETHAL OPTION?
The manufacturers of the Tasers claim that use for 1/2 a second will cause intense pain and muscle contractions. While two or three seconds will result in the person becoming dazed and dropping to the ground. Over three seconds will completely disorient and drop a person for at least several minutes and possibly for up to fifteen minutes.
What they generally fail to mention is that there is increasing concern about deaths and injuries resulting from the use of tasers. The reality is that stun guns can and do kill in some circumstances, particularly by disrupting the heart muscles's natural rhythm. Also nerve damage is possible, along with electrical burns and other soft tissue damage such as the eyes.
In 2004 coroners in the US reached the conclusion that in at least five cases death was attributable to the use of tasers by the police. This has lead to calls for much more discussion and research on the use of these controversial weapons by police forces.
CBS Report on Taser Deaths - http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/04/06/eveningnews/main610561.shtml
THE SCOPE FOR ABUSE
During an anti-war protest in Pittsburgh in August 2005 video footage shows just how easily the police can abuse these weapons, using them not to prevent violence but to deliberately inflict pain on protesters. The footage shows a woman who is already lying on the ground, not threatening, not violent, who is electrocuted with a taser by a police officer in front of shocked onlookers:
Is this what we can expect in the UK soon? While unease grows about the use of these controversial weapons, about their use in quelling dissent and protest, and while the death toll grows we have a Merseyside Chief Constable who is happy to ignore all this in his haste to turn Liverpool police in to a fully armed paramilitary force. Surely this shouldn't be allowed to go ahead unquestioned.