14 Feb 2009

New Taser guides issued to police in Canada

1:03 pm on 14 February 2009

New guidelines for the use of Taser stun guns have been issued to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police following the deaths of 20 people in incidents involving the weapons.

The BBC reports there has been outrage after video footage showed police in Vancouver in 2006 repeatedly stunning a Polish immigrant who later died.

Witnesses testifying at a public inquiry into his death this month said he had been emotional and upset in the moments leading up to the incident.

The RCMP said on Thursday that its officers may now fire stun guns only if there is a real threat to themselves or public safety. Officers have also been warned that the weapons can kill.

Critics say the Mounties have used Tasers too frequently and often zap suspects who pose no real threat.