The Editor Solomon Times On Line

Dear Sir

In a letter published in the Solomon Times on Line this week, Mr. Shane Lynd described how tasers have proved effective in deterring crime in Queensland when used by the police and suggested, as an interim measure, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force might adopt their use.

Tasers are quite often used by a growing number of police forces, including international police services such as in the United Kingdom and Canada.

The taser is an electric shock weapon that uses an electrical current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles. They are often deployed by the police to subdue belligerent, or potentially dangerous persons, who would otherwise been subjected to the use of more lethal methods such as the use of firearms. The nature of their use requires close quarter contact.

My past experience in the Solomon Islands was that most injuries sustained by the police occurred during civil disturbances, including rock throwing incidents, and few injuries resulted from the arrests of suspects. The situation, however, might now have changed.

As the Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force prior to the onset of the period now described as the "ethic tension," I recommended to the then SIAC government the acquisition of non-lethal weapons capable of being deployed in the event of civil disobedience and riotous situations, but the report I had submitted was never acknowledged or less lethal weapons acquired to minimize or prevent the use of firearms then held in the police armoury.

It should be pointed out to correct Mr. Lynd's article that the use of tasers has not been without some recent controversy following several incidents where taser use has resulted in serious injury and even some deaths.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short