An extra 6,000 Taser stun guns are to be used by police in England and Wales at a cost of £8m, the Home Office says.
The funding follows a 12-month trial in 10 forces to extend their use to trained frontline officers…
The Home Office also announced an additional £2.3m to pay for the cartridges.
For those without a calculator on hand, that comes to about $14.8 million. During the trial period, police bought 10,000 stun guns, costing approximately $14.4 million.
Police forces are quite keen on stun guns, calling them an "'effective' and 'less lethal alternative' to firearms." Opponents, however, note that "less lethal" doesn't mean "not lethal." There's good news and bad news for those worried about British police treating stun guns as nothing more than battery-powered batons. The List:
The Bad News: The Tasers can be (and are) used on kids.
The Good News: Police only shocked little ruffians "a total of 28 times in a 20-month period."
The Bad News: Prior to the 12-month trial, it was unclear whether pregnant women could be zapped.
The Good News: The Government is taking precautions by "'specifically ask[ing]' for computer simulations to be carried out to analyse the effect on 'a pregnant female.'"
The Good News: A training course and refresher classe are required.
The Bad News: Training course is two days; refresher classes are annual.
When the trial began in 2007, the British Crime Survey showed that crime rates had been relatively stable since 2005. Indeed, England experienced a 42 percent drop in crime since 1995, when violent crime rates peaked. According to Paul McKeever, spokesman for the Police Federation of England and Wales, "the investment rightly reflects the professionalism of police officers nationwide and recognises the vital role Taser plays in the fight against crime."
With all the dangers stun guns pose and the IMF's prediction that the U.K. "is heading for its worst year since the Great Depression," the Home Office should put that money to better use.
Reasons to love England below: