Cops Hope Rioters See the Light [Pew Pew Pew]

Cops hope rioters see the light

A British police force is planning to trial a laser gun that would temporarily blind large groups of people.

The £25,000 (US$40,000) device, the SMU 100, emits a three-meter square “wall” of light. It’s not designed to cause damage to eyesight, but is painful to look at. Manufacturers Photonic Security Systems liken it to the effects of looking at the sun and having no choice to but turn away.

The unnamed force plans to test out the device as a potential solution for controlling large crowds following this summer’s rioting in several English cities. Whereas CS gas and tasers work only over short ranges, the laser is said to work up to a range of 500 meters — though of course, that increases the risk of innocent bystanders being caught up in the process.

The device, which is still in development, is designed to be shoulder mounted and relatively portable, thus making it suitable for situations where a water cannon vehicle — another idea floated for riot control — would be impractical, such as confined spaces like small side streets.

The manufacturers already uses the technology in a commercially available system that is mounted on boats and designed to deter piracy, for example off the coast of Somalia. The BBC reports that similar systems from other manufacturers have been used by military convoys in Afghanistan.

Once the trial is complete, the government’s Centre for Applied Science and technology will study the results, along with those from other ideas such as chemical irritant projectiles. It will need to be convinced there are no long-term health risks from the system before advising a government minister to approve the device for use by the police.


13 Responses to Cops Hope Rioters See the Light [Pew Pew Pew]

  1. Yeah… Why spend money on boring things like training, or greater police numbers when we can show off a big shiny toy that can only be used in a handfull of circumstances!


    Aw… crap. Since when has my political self started impacting on my nerdy self…

    • Increased police numbers means additional salary, benefits, pension, equipment, etc.
      One of these gizmos is less than half the cost of the annual expense for a single officer. Easily.

      • But it can only be used in a handful of situations, /if that/.

        While additional police officers (or, better yet, greater and more consistent training) can provide officers who are far more versatile and capable in just about every situation.

        Thing is, training and wotnot is boring, and happens behind-the-scenes. While stories like this are all loud and shouty and impressive looking, and look really cool in newspapers, regardless of how effeftive they are. So guess which one gets more money?

        This is the law-enforcement equivilant of waving a pair of keys infront of your face while everything else is going wrong shouting: "oo-ee! Look at the pretty gizmo! lookit! Lookit!"

        See also those useless, but expensive, shiny and technological-looking full body scanners at airports.

        • That may or may not be true, but it's a much different argument than you were initially making.
          Even though a specialized crowd control device like this will see limited use, it's still a very cost-effective way of dealing with the situation it's designed for.

  2. "It’s not designed to cause damage to eyesight,"

    Yah right. And tasers can't kill, and bean bag shot guns can only stun.

    No what is is about is not needing to worry about consequences. Where police can pull this shit no matter what. Where this

    becomes the norm instead of the exception. Look at that picture up there. Dangerous dangerous people no doubt. And the cops are laying the pepper spry thick because hey, it won't kill anyone.

    I want lethal weapons out there. I want cops to think damn long and hard before they casually use them. Because I can guarantee you if the above picture had been a gun, they wouldn't have been so quick to react…And if they had…well we we would have had another Kent State on our hands and frankly could have been the beginning of a nation wide riot.

    • Casual use of weapons is never a good idea. Neither is ignoring police instructions.
      There's lawful protest and unlawful protest. Just because you're not rioting doesn't mean you're okay.

      This has zero to do with the article.

  3. The greatgrandfather of the guns used in Star Wars is born! :D
    Won't be long before this puppy won't just blind people but put clean holes in them as well.

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