More Leicestershire Police officers are to be trained to use a Taser following the go ahead from senior officers.
Between now and April 2021, around 150 more officers in appropriate roles will be trained to carry a Taser.
Included in the uplift will be local and specialist officers on the front line, who regularly find themselves in dangerous, often escalating situations.
The decision is following a review of Taser’s ability to keep members of the public safe and reduce assaults on officers, with additional support from the result of a recent Police Federation survey which showed overwhelming support from officers for additional training and resources to be made available.
The force also carried out a public survey, with the results again showing overwhelming support from the public for more officers to be equipped with Taser – 97% of those who responded were supportive.
And it’s being made possible following a grant from the Home Office, which will allow the force to buy an additional 100 Tasers.
Chief Inspector Mick Fletcher, who did the review, said: “The evidence makes it clear that Taser not only makes our staff safer, it also makes the public safer, by better equipping us to protect them against violence.
“In the overwhelming majority of cases, the sight of Taser is sufficient to avoid further conflict. The staff and public survey both showed support for increased access, and I am delighted that Chief Officers have agreed to support this.”
Dave Stokes, the Chair of the Leicestershire Police Federation, said: “This is really welcome news from the force in terms of the Taser uplift and the continued commitment from the Chief Officer team to ensure officer safety.
“It’s a great example of the Federation working with the force to keep our staff and communities safer.”
Lord Willy Bach, the Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “It is our policing tradition that the police do not carry potentially lethal weapons on duty unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. In my view the public support the tradition, but are sensible enough to realise when circumstances have changed making it essential for ‘police force’ to change too.
“The Chief Constable will be updating me on a six monthly basis about the progress and development of the implementation.”
Further work will now take place to prioritise training to meet operational need to best protect officers and public alike.