Taser firm banned from supplying British police
A firm has been barred from supplying Taser guns to British police after providing weapons which were still being tested to police who used them in a fatal standoff, officials said Tuesday.
Pro-Tect Systems was only meant to supply the X12 Tasers -- which can deliver up to 20 seconds of electric shock -- to the Home Office's Science and Development Branch but sold them directly to two police forces.
Officers from one force, Northumbria Police in northeast England, then used them on Raoul Moat, who had shot dead his former girlfriend and her new partner and blinded a police officer, in July.
Moat, who was armed with a sawn-off shotgun, died in a standoff whose precise circumstances are still being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
A Home Office spokesman said: "Enquiries following the Raoul Moat operation revealed Pro-Tect breached its licence by supplying X12 Tasers direct to police that were only available for supply to the Home Office Science and Development branch.
"The enquiries... also revealed the company breached rules governing the secure transport of the devices and ammunition.
"Faced with these breaches, the home secretary has decided to revoke Pro-Tect's licence to supply Tasers."
Amnesty International said it was "seriously concerned" that the Tasers had apparently been used without first undergoing proper testing.
And Moat's brother Angus accused police of using his brother as a "guinea pig". "They had not used them before and that was not the time or the place to conduct an experiment," he added.
© 2010 AFP