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The governing body of the Metropolitan Police yesterday gave approval for Tasers to be issued to non-firearms-trained police in a pilot scheme beginning next month. Similar trials are already underway with other UK police forces.

"Members [of the Met Police Authority] raised legitimate concerns about broadening the use of Taser to routine policing," said Cindy Butts, MPA deputy chair.

"We remain worried about the message this sends out to London's communities about the escalation of confrontation and need further reassurance that vulnerable people... will not be adversely affected.

"However... Without the Met participating, this authority will be unable to influence a final decision about future use of the Taser.

"Consequently, today we agreed that the Met participates in the trial with the following rider: I will lead an MPA working group, working with the Met to jointly monitor and evaluate the trial...

"We want to move forward and influence the national debate. Our concerns have not gone away, nor have they been answered... We will monitor these areas rigorously and ensure that the experiences of London influence national policy for the good."

The MPA has agreed to let the Met deploy Tasers in the hands of non-firearms police only on the third time of asking. On two previous occasions MPA members were "dissatisfied" with the level of information provided.

The full MPA announcement is here. ®

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