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Plans at an advanced stage to issue armed gardaí with more modern taser weapons

The new devices will be issued to specialist armed gardaí in the Armed Support Units nationwide and the national Emergency Response Unit.

SPECIALIST ARMED GARDAÍ are to be issued with new more modern tasers following an assessment of the effectiveness of their current weapons. 

Tasers are a firearm style weapon which fires wires attached to two barbed probes that when they make contact with the flesh of an assaultive or armed suspect that they deliver an electrical charge which incapacitates the person. 

The units in An Garda Síochána that use the devices are the Armed Support Unit, stationed across the country in various locations and the Emergency Response Unit, which is the garda’s national specialist intervention team.

They are classed as Less lethal Weapons – meaning that the likelihood of death is not at zero but is unlikely to occur. 

It is understood an internal review of the Taser X26P was carried out and some operational issues were identified. 

A number of sources familiar with the garda deployment of the weapons said that the key issues identified were that the current devices were, at times, ineffective when faced with heavy clothing. 

The gardaí also identified issues whereby the devices could only be fired once and the time to reload would not protect them from attack if the device was not initially effective at subduing the suspect. 

a-taser-x26-electric-voltage-stun-gun A taser x26 - similar to that currently issued to gardaí. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Sources have said that gardaí are now looking at purchasing newer versions of the devices – known as a Taser X2. 

This is a much more advanced type and is a much more capable weapon. 

Sources have said key considerations are that the barbs are more likely to connect with a suspect and they also have a second set of barbs allowing gardaí to fire twice before reloading.

The double headed cartridge would permit a garda to take on two suspects at once but also to deploy the weapon twice if the first attempt fails. 

There is also a capability in the new weapon that when the garda draws the device and turns off the safety that a camera is then activated which records the interaction.

Another key feature is a targeting optic and lasers that identify where the barbs will land. 

Sources have said that gardaí have also been contemplating the issuing of a heavier assault rifle style weapon to ASU gardaí but that this is unlikely at present. 

It is understood that considerations around how the Heckler and Koch (HK) 416 rifles would be stored in the ASU vehicles are forming a key part of the decision making on whether they will be a viable option. If confirmed it would not replace the smaller MP7 currently used by the ASU but would compliment their armoury. 

The HK 416 is already in use by members of the ERU. 

When contacted by The Journal a garda spokesperson said: “An Garda Síochána is not in a position to provide any comment on this enquiry at this time.”