* MCT photo. Police are beginning the introduction of Tasers into Bermuda.
* MCT photo. Police are beginning the introduction of Tasers into Bermuda.
WEDNESDAY, APR. 21: You may recall our decision in February this year for the Bermuda Police Service to consider the current use-of-force options available to it, and to consider the possible use of an Electronic Control Device, commonly referred to as Taser.

The less-lethal use of force options primarily available to Bermuda police officers are empty hand techniques, Captor spray and ASP batons. Research has revealed that Captor spray is not always effective, particularly when the subject is under the influence of intoxicants or drugs. There is a significant gap in the available range of less-lethal weapons that result in the Service being ill-equipped to deal with certain types of incidents. This gap could result in an officer justifiably shooting an individual with a firearm due to the unavailability of a suitable alternative option.

The study revealed that Taser would enable the Service to effectively deal with specific life-threatening incidents and bridge the current gap. Taser is a brand name for an Electronic Control Device that uses electricity to induce involuntary muscle contractions that cause temporary incapacitation.

These devices have been subjected to independent testing in the United Kingdom (UK) and have been found to have a very low risk of causing serious or life-threatening injury.

Taser devices have built-in accountability measures to determine when and how they are deployed, thereby significantly minimizing the potential for inappropriate use of the device. These measures include a camera fitted to the Taser to record the incident.

UK police forces have been issuing Taser to armed officers since 2004 as a less lethal option for authorized firearms deployments.

The UKCOT Firearms Working Group also supports the issuing of Taser to member countries. UKCOT - being the United Kingdom Caribbean Overseas Territories of Bermuda, Cayman, BVI, Turks & Caicos, Anguilla & Montserrat - a joint working group between the 6 police services that set policy on the use of firearms.

We are here today to announce that the phased implementation of Taser in Bermuda has begun, commencing with issue to BPS firearms officers and, subsequently, to other specially trained units.

It is anticipated that the implementation of Taser will enable the Bermuda Police Service to more effectively deal with issues where persons are threatening the lives of others or themselves.

Before handing over to the Commissioner to deal with the specifics of Taser use, let me reiterate this Government's commitment to the maintenance of law and order; we will continually review our options in concert with the Bermuda Police Service leadership and Government House and adjust our actions accordingly.

Let me end by again thanking the members of the Bermuda Police Service for their exemplary response to the violence that has been ricocheting through this community - they are doing an outstanding job. I would also like to thank the members of the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service who have also been on the frontline in this fight.

Thank you - Commissioner.