US police try out 'Spider-Man' lasso device to replace 'deadly' tasers

Clark Mindock

Police departments in America are trying out a “Spider-Man”-like device that they hope will put an end to the dozens of deaths seen in the country as a result of taser use.

The new device, called a Bolawrap, stops suspects by entangling them in a tether, instead of the electric shock method that left 49 people dead in the country last year.

It works at a range of 3 to 7.6 metres.

“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,” Tom Smith, president of Wrap Technologies, which manufactures the Bolawrap device, told Reuters.

“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,” he said.

The device is a bit larger than a mobile phone, and has been designed to fit easily onto a police belt.

When activated, the tether is shot out at a rate of 200 metres per second.

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Since tasers were first deployed on a large scale in the US, there have been at least 1,081 deaths from their use, a Reuters investigation found.