Export of Tasers
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Alistair Burt (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Afghanistan/South Asia, counter terrorism/proliferation, North America, Middle East and North Africa), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; North East Bedfordshire, Conservative)
Torture is an affront to human rights and the UK will not waver from our determination to combat it wherever and whenever it occurs.
Since 1997 it has been UK Government policy to prevent persons and companies operating in the UK from manufacturing, selling or procuring equipment designed primarily for torture, and they have taken necessary measures to prevent the export from, or transhipment through, the UK of portable devices designed or modified for riot control purposes or self-protection that administer an electric shock. This included electric discharge shock guns, of which Taser is a brand.
In my written ministerial statement of
and we will continue to press for a global ban on such equipment. We will maintain this prohibition on the export, transhipment, and trade in such equipment to all destinations, except in the very limited and specific circumstances set out in the statement regarding to Tasers in specific cases relating to approved use by UK police, or by the police of the Crown dependencies or overseas territories.
The ban on British involvement in these activities has always been intended to apply, and will continue to be applicable to trade activities as well as to export and transhipment. This is necessary to ensure that the policy ban on selling, manufacturing and procuring of this equipment has maximum effect. Trade activities include the trafficking and brokering of controlled goods from one third country to another third country by UK persons wherever they are, or by any persons carrying out such activities in the United Kingdom. Trade activities were not included in the July 1997 statement because at the time such activities were not controlled in the United Kingdom.
Thus the Government will not issue licences for trade (including trafficking and brokering) in equipment designed primarily for torture to any person in the United Kingdom or to United Kingdom persons as defined in section 11 of the Export Control Act 2002 (which includes British citizens and UK registered companies), wherever they are in the world, other than in the limited and specific circumstances set out in my statement of