Police won’t use ‘killer robots’ with live ammunition to stop shooters

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    Cops in the US have backtracked on a wild proposal to introduce killer crime-fighting robots fitted with live ammunition.

    Last Wednesday, November 30, police watchdogs on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Rules Committee backed a proposal by the SFPD allowing it to use robots with 'lethal force' against suspects where needed.

    The SFPD currently has 12 remote-controlled bomb defusal robots. They wanted permission to retrofit these with live ammunition or explosives for use in instances when human officers would struggle to apprehend a suspect.

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    And while the board voted strongly in favour of the proposal, with 8-3 agreeing that police should be able to use the robots, the proposal looks to have collapsed.

    Amid a public backlash and a protest at City Hall where people held up "NO KILLER ROBOTS!” signs, the board reversed its decision.

    Natalie Gee, the chief of staff for the board’s president, said that the board voted to remove text pertaining to robots and use of lethal force.

    Supervisor Hillary Ronen said that "common sense prevailed".

    “We stopped the use of killer robots in San Francisco today,” Ronen said. “The public outcry helped six Supervisors fully appreciate the gravity of last week’s vote and the numerous unanswered questions about both the ethics and practical implications of allowing police to use machines to kill human beings.”

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    SFPD spokesperson Allison Maxie said after the initial vote last week that the robots could be used 'to contact, incapacitate, or disorient violent, armed, or dangerous suspects'.

    In a statement, Maxie said: "Robots equipped in this manner would only be used in extreme circumstances to save or prevent further loss of innocent lives."

    Dean Preston, one of the police supervisors who voted against the motion, said: "San Francisco is not a warzone, and these kinds of devices are not needed to protect this city".

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