Moat police had unauthorised tasers

Firearms officers were "put on the spot" when they were controversially handed unauthorised shotgun Tasers in a doomed bid to bring in Raoul Moat alive, a police weapons expert said.

X12 shotguns had never been used in a UK operation before and were only licensed for testing purposes. When they were deployed in Rothbury, Northumberland, it was the first time officers had handled them.



Peter Boatman, an ex-police firearms officer and director of UK suppliers Pro-Tect Systems, offered them to Northumbria Police in the belief the non-lethal weapons would make officers on the manhunt safer.



The X12, which fires XREP cartridges over much a longer range than conventional hand-held Tasers, were developed to fill a gap in law enforcers' armoury by locking up suspects' muscles from distance.



Conventional X26 Tasers work best at up to three metres, while X12s have a range of 10 times that.



But on the night, the XREP which hit Moat failed to deliver neuro-muscular incapacitation and the cornered killer escaped justice by putting a shot through his own head.



Andy Redhead, a retired police national tactical firearms adviser who worked with the Metropolitan and Northumbria Police forces, said: "The guys were put on the spot on the night.



"Tasers are still relatively new to us in the UK and the shotgun Taser was totally new."



Mr Redhead, now a director of the security firm Sec-Tech, sympathised with Assistant Chief Constable Steve Ashman's decision to go against Association of Chief Police Officers guidelines which ban the use of unauthorised weapons.



Mr Ashman has told the inquest he believed Moat's right to life under the Human Rights Act meant police should do all they could to bring him in alive, and that meant using an XREP to incapacitate and arrest him.



Mr Redhead said: "It was a unique set of circumstances - I understand ACC Ashman's comments and sympathise with them."



At the inquest a Home Office expert said the shotgun Taser technology was ineffective, and the jury heard that the XREP cartridge did not pierce Moat's skin, but got caught up in his sodden hoodie. Moat also failed to grasp the cartridge's trailing wires which are designed to make the subject grab them, creating a secondary contact for the electrical discharge to pass through.



But Taser insist their product works, and claim the Home Office assessment was based on old data and that the XREP has been much improved since then.



Steve Tuttle, Taser's vice president of communications, said: "It's not a perfect weapon, there are no magic bullets."



But the XREP technology has been sold to 32 countries and he has many examples of its successful use, he said.



Mr Tuttle said: "Our products cannot be something that works one in 20 times. We have had numerous uses where it has been successful.



"The Home Office looked at a study that's quite old and we refute it."













Source: PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine