Your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man has been bailing the NYPD out for decades and now cops across the pond are looking to harness the best weapon in his arsenal.
Police departments around the United States are testing potential a Taser replacement that would entangle and restrain a person of interest, just like Spidey, instead of giving them a nasty and potentially lethal electric shock.
The Bolawrap device is designed to wrap around the legs of the suspect as a means of limiting resistance without the use of excessive force. The 8-foot bola tether can be fired from a range of up to 25ft away. When fired, the pocket-sized device fires the synthetic fibre tether at 640ft per second and won’t be spied by the suspect, says the maker Wrap Industries.
“Whether it is a Taser, pepper spray, baton … there’s been this gap created by the courts requiring that a higher level of force be used at the appropriate time,” said Tom Smith president the company. “This tool fits perfectly into that gap giving the officers another option to use before having to use that high level of force to end that conversation very early, very safely.”
The tests come amid outrage over perceived police brutality in the United States. Reuters reports 49 people were killed in the United States in 2018 after being tasered by the police. Many of those were also subjected to other methods of force.
Smith had previously developed the Taser with his brother, but said PDs around the US and beyond were seeking to use less-lethal tools when fighting alleged criminals, he says.
As is custom in training, officers themselves are stepping in the firing line to understand the new method of retstraint.
The police chief in Bell, California, Carlos Islas, said: “I personally went ahead and took the opportunity to get wrapped myself and the reason I did that – it is important for me to understand what an individual who is going to get wrapped is going to feel, and to me it’s very negligible.”