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UK Police To Trial Blinding Laser To Control Rioters

UK Police To Trial Blinding Laser To Control Rioters

UK police to deter rioters with blinding lasers…

Police in the UK are set to trial a new non-lethal weapon, which deters rioters using a laser that emits a blinding wall of light.

The new technology is one of many being studied to deter uncontrollable crowds in order to prevent a repeat of the August riots that started on the streets of London, and quickly erupted throughout several of the country’s other major cites including Birmingham and Manchester.

The new laser, developed by a former Royal Marine and manufactured by British-based Photonic Security Systems, is a shoulder-mounted laser, resembling an SMU100 rifle, which creates a 3m-squared wall of light that temporarily impairs the vision of targets up to 500m away. Looking into the beam is simply uncomfortable and rioters are forced to look away.

uk police trial blinding laser to deter rioters

UK Roit Police Will Trial Non-Leathal Temporary Blinding Laser

Image Credit: Richard Hopkins, 2011.

The laser also features an infrared scope to spot people in poor visibility and costs £25,000 ($38,332).

Similar systems have already had some success with ISAF troops in Afghanistan, and the company hopes it will also help to deter the increasing threat of pirates.

The UK’s Home Office, concerned about the limited range of tasers and CS gas, are also looking into the effectiveness and safety of ‘wireless electronic interceptors’ that can be fired a greater distance than tasers, as well as long-range chemical projectiles the cause temporary irritation similar to pepper spray. The Metropolitan Police is also looking into purchasing three water canons at a cost of £4m ($6m). The only other water cannons owned by a police force in the UK are Police Force of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

A Home Office spokesman said scientists at its Centre for Applied Science and Technology believe the use of lasers “has merit”. But they will need to prove the technology does not cause long-term health damage before the Home Secretary will approve it.

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  1. Matthew Holehouse: Police to test laser that 'blinds rioters'. Telegraph UK, 12/11/2011.
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