Moat-link Taser firm loses licence
The firm that supplies Tasers to police forces across the UK has had its licence revoked after supplying the weapons used by officers in the stand-off with gunman Raoul Moat, the Home Office has said.
Pro-Tect Systems breached its licence by supplying the X12 Tasers and XRep ammunition, which were still being tested by the Home Office, directly to two police forces, the Home Office said.
Home Secretary Theresa May revoked the firm's licence to import and sell Tasers following an investigation into the use of the weapons at the end of one of Britain's biggest manhunts.
Armed police fired two Tasers at Moat in an "effort to stop him taking his own life" in the Riverside park area in Rothbury, Northumberland, in the early hours of July 10, an inquest at Newcastle Civic Centre was told. The Tasers can deliver up to 20 seconds of electric shock in bullet-like capsules from a standard 12-gauge shotgun or a X12 Taser.
Mrs May revoked Pro-Tect's licence after inquiries revealed it supplied the Tasers, which should have only been supplied to the Home Office Science and Development Branch, directly to police. The firm also breached the rules "governing the secure transport of the devices and ammunition", the Home Office said.
In a letter to the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, Crime Prevention Minister James Brokenshire said the Home Secretary was "satisfied that the company supplied X12 Tasers and XRep ammunition to Northumbria Police and to another police force contrary to their authority".
"In considering what action to take, the Home Secretary has taken into account the representations made by the company's solicitors on their behalf but in view of the serious nature of the breaches has decided not to renew the company's current authorities," he wrote.
There was no suggestion that any blame should be attached to the officers involved and the Home Office has stressed that police could use any weapon they saw fit as long as its use was "lawful, reasonable and proportionate".
The stand-off with the steroid-addicted former nightclub doorman ended the seven-day manhunt which was triggered when Moat shot his former girlfriend, Samantha Stobbart, 22, killed her new boyfriend, Chris Brown, 29, and blinded Pc David Rathband, 42.
Pro-Tect Systems said it could not comment while the IPCC investigation was going on.