Military

UK police testing laser rifle to blind rioters

UK police testing laser rifle ...
Police in the UK are currently testing an anti-riot laser that temporarily blinds targets
Police in the UK are currently testing an anti-riot laser that temporarily blinds targets
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Police in the UK are currently testing an anti-riot laser that temporarily blinds targets
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Police in the UK are currently testing an anti-riot laser that temporarily blinds targets
Police in the UK are currently testing an anti-riot laser that temporarily blinds targets
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Police in the UK are currently testing an anti-riot laser that temporarily blinds targets

After riots this past summer left parts of the UK in shambles, it's no wonder that police in that part of the world are looking for new methods of crowd control. Since the usual methods for subduing rioters were seen as largely ineffective against their sheer numbers at the time, police have been looking into new tactics as well as non-lethal weapons to replace the standard tasers and tear gas. To that end, the next time someone tries to loot a store in England, they may find themselves literally struck blind thanks to a new riot laser currently being tested called the "SMU 100."

The SMU 100 was originally developed to combat pirates in Somalia (much like a similar device from BAE Systems), but in the wake of the UK riots this summer the focus for the project has shifted towards controlling rioters. The shoulder-mounted laser emits a flash of light about three meters (9.8 ft) across, which can effectively blind a target up to 500 meters (1,640 ft) away; much farther than tear gas and tasers.

Being blinded by the laser has been compared to looking directly at the sun until being forced to turn away. The design for it comes from former Royal Marine Commando Paul Kerr, who is now the managing director of Photonic Security Systems. Kerr sums up the basic concept behind the laser quite well: "The system would give police an intimidating visual deterrent. If you can't look at something you can't attack it."

Currently a police force is set to run field trials with the SMU 100, though Photonic Security Systems will not disclose the exact location. The trials will determine not only their usefulness in the field but whether the blinding process carries any unknown side effects. If the laser passes the various health checks and is accepted by the Home Secretary, it could become standard equipment for any police force willing to pay the GBP25,000 (approx. US$39,000) price tag.

Source: BBC

20 comments
VoiceofReason
Yeah....no lawsuits or nasty side effects there. Just lase them.
Lazlo
At least with the high price tag they won\'t be handing them out to every cop like tazers and pepper spray. Too many of them don\'t seem to understand that non-lethal is not the same as non-harmful and shouldn\'t be used just because they\'re frustrated. However I don\'t think they\'ve thought this through very well. The only thing I can think of worse than an angry violent mob is a blind angry violent panicked mob. I instantly foresee trampling deaths and injuries. And it\'s not better just because the police didn\'t inflict them directly.
hibni
I bet there will be health side effects here. And I bet that managing director of Photonic Security Systems is not willing to be \"temporarily\" laser blinded once a week to demonstrate that there are no side effects.
Wesley Bruce
An Australian company invented asimilar blinder in Brisbane in the 1980's but there were efforts to stop it. I agreed at the time because the blinder did irreversible damage. We now have lasers that don't do permanent damage. A riot blinder that has a 3 second residual effect will work for a while until someone came up with a pair of anti-laser glasses. I can see how someone might make them work.
Edmund Kendrew
Test this in good old South Africa as well
Gustavo Rocha
So, am I really the first one who though of mirrors within 3 seconds of reading the title?
EinSascha
Countermeasures: Sunglasses or laser protection glasses won\'t do, if it\'s white light they are directing at you. You\'d need the Things you wear to watch a solar eclipse, and they are pretty dark if looking somewhere else. Mirrors wouldn\'t help either, because of the spread. The the weapon illuminates an area of 3 Meters. Lets say those results in 3 square meters. If you have a 50x50cm mirror (0.25 sqm) You return less than 10 % of the light which will be spread again and reduced by another 10%. That is, if you can redirect the light successfully at all, which won\'t be easy. You can either aim at the light-gun and be blinded after the first flash or hide behind it and don\'t aim at all. That said, the definition of \"riots\" is somewhat vague and sometimes gets extended to include demonstrations. As with non-lethal weapons, a light-gun that doesn\'t cause permanent damage might be used more often.
Jason Brooks
Maybe they should look at why people are so unhappy instead of looking for ways to subdue them. I think the guy who came up with this should be shot in the eye with it.
Robert Fox
Nowhere in the article does it say whether rioters would be blinded only when looking the direction of the rifle, for life, or temporarily. Just putting up a wall of intense light from the rifle would work well. Temporarily would certainly leave wandering rioters not sure of which way is out of the situation and possibly running into something, like traffic. Permanently could possibly be grounds for lawsuits if an innocent bystander were blinded. The article should have been more descriptive that just saying \"blinded\".
Todd Dunning
As we saw during OWS, most protesters are already blinded.