29 September 2010 | Angeline Albert
The UK supplier of Tasers, the weapons used to stun suspects in police operations, has had its licence to supply the Home Office revoked.
Pro-Tect Systems, the only supplier of the devices in the UK, was licensed to supply X12 Tasers to the Home Office for testing only. Home secretary Theresa May revoked the company’s authority to provide the weapons after it “breached its licence” by supplying them direct to police without approval to do so.
Pro-Tect had also been legally supplying X26 and M26 Tasers directly to police forces, but its licence to supply all three models (X12, X26 and M26) has now been revoked.
The X12 devices were used in Northumberland in July when police surrounded fugitive gunman Raoul Moat, who subsequently took his own life. 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 Scientific Development Branch.
“The enquiries carried out by Northamptonshire Police 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,” said the spokesman.
James Brokenshire, minister for crime prevention, has written to the head of the Home Affairs Select Committee to say that the Home Office is working with the Association of Chief Police Officers to ensure police forces have adequate Taser stocks while a new UK supplier is found.
His letter said: “A short-term authority has been granted to allow the company to dispose lawfully of its remaining stock. In light of the ongoing IPCC [Independent Police Complaints Commission] investigation into the Northumbria shootings, and the possibility of charges being laid against the company, it would not be appropriate for me to give any more details about this case at this time.”
A spokesman for Pro-tect Systems told SM it is not making any comment.