Taser weapons: shot down

ALL gardaí will be armed with pepper spray by the end of the year but the garda commissioner has rejected a call to provide members of the force with stun guns also.

Three months ago at the Garda Representative Association (GRA) annual conference, a motion was unanimously passed asking garda commissioner Fachtna Murphy to issue Taser stun guns to all members of the force.

But the commissioner has now ruled this out in a statement released to the Sunday Tribune.

"There has been no change to the current garda policy confining the issue of Conductive Energy Devices (CED) [Taser stun guns] to members of the Emergency Response Units and Regional Response Units," said a garda press-office statement.

"Arrangements for the purchase and general issue of incapacitant spray to all operational members of An Garda Síochána are currently ongoing with a projected roll-out of training and equipment by the end of 2009," it continued.

GRA president Michael O'Boyce said the request to provide all gardaí with stun guns "highlights our concern about the rise in the number of attacks on our members.

"We understand the commissioner's position and that he has said 'no'. But we were in this same position a few years ago when we called for pepper spray for all our members and now it has finally come through.

"It is long overdue and will be very useful to our members in the course of their duties," he said.