Officers from two Strathclyde Police divisions have been issued with Taser guns in a bid to curb attacks on police.
The six-month trial involves officers from the Glasgow city centre and Rutherglen and Cambuslang divisions, both of which experience higher-than-average assaults on officers.
Although Tasers have been used by the force since 2005, this is the first time that the weapons have been issued to beat officers. 15 officers from each division have been issued with the sidearms and trained in their use.
Taser guns fire a 50,000-volt electrical charge, and are designed to incapacitate rather than cause lasting injury.
Strathclyde Police says that their use will be “measured, controlled and proportionate in line with human rights”.
Chief Constable Stephen House said: “Our use of Tasers is very clearly contained.
“Officers must perceive that either they or a member of the public is going to be subject to violence before they can use a Taser.”
In a statement, the force reported that an average of 4,000 officers have been assaulted every year for the last four years.
However, Amnesty International has voiced concerns over the £45,559 trial.
The human rights group’s Scotland Programme Director John Watson said: “This is a particularly concerning move on the part of Strathclyde Police.
"Tasers are potentially lethal weapons which cause excruciating pain. We have always insisted that these weapons are used only in very limited circumstances by police officers who undergo intensive, ongoing and rigorous training.
“Strathclyde also appears to be applying a very arbitrary approach to this rollout. In only giving the Taser to officers who want it, they appear to be handing it out like sweets. That’s exactly the way in which this weapon should not be rolled out. Tasers should only be given to officers who are best-trained and those who really require it to carry out their job.”