Police Test Laser to 'Blind Rioters'

British police try new technology after summer riots
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2011 6:12 PM CST
British riot police arrive in front of a burning building in Croydon, South London on August 8, 2011. PHOTO/Carl de Souza   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – In the wake of this year's rioting, British police are testing a laser that would temporarily blind looters with a wall of light, the Telegraph reports. The $40,000 laser can reportedly reach people up to 500 yards away and spot them in poor visibility with an infrared scope. "If police spot someone trying to do something untoward, painting them with this would certainly make them think twice about it," says Paul Kerr, the head of the firm developing the device.

Unsatisfied with Tasers and tear gas, British officials are looking for new technologies to repel rioters—like long-range chemical projectiles and "wireless electronic interceptors" that can reach farther than Tasers. They plan to try the shoulder-mounted laser with at least one police force but want to see if it carries long-term health effects. London police are also considering buying three water cannons at a cost of $6 million. (Read more laser stories.)

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