Cambridgeshire Police up Taser training

PUBLISHED: 11:48 02 May 2013 | UPDATED: 11:49 02 May 2013

Cambridgeshire Police have been training more police officers in the use of Tasers

Cambridgeshire Police have been training more police officers in the use of Tasers

Archant

MORE police officers in Cambridgeshire have been trained in the use of Tasers.

Cambridgeshire Police has announced that 120 extra officers have received specialist training in how to use the weapons.

Currently 55 firearms officers are authorised to fire the stun guns, and they will now be joined by colleagues from local policing teams, the Automatic Number Plate Recognition team and the Tactical Team.

Chief Inspector Nick Church, lead officer on Taser, said: “Extending the use of Taser across the force will enhance the safety of both the public and officers.

“I know there has been concern about its extended use but our firearms officers have been authorised to use Taser since 2006.

“The threat of using Taser, where a red dot appears on the person’s torso, is often enough to quieten an offender so they can be dealt with without injury to them, officers or members of the public.

“Our officers have to deal with violent, often unstable, offenders and this simple device is one of a number of tactical options officers can use when there is a threat to a member of public or an officer.”

Officers have been working with colleagues in Hertfordshire as part of their training, which took place over a four-month period. It is estimated the scheme will cost Cambridgeshire Police £62,000 in the coming financial year.

The use of Tasers by police has been criticised by civil liberties groups such as Amnesty, who have raised concerns about the way the devices are deployed and the health risks posed to those who are Tasered.

The announcement comes just a week after a man died after suffering burns in an incident when he was Tasered by a police officer in Plymouth.

Police were called to the home of 32-year-old Andrew Pimlott following a domestic disturbance and told that he was in the garden and had a can of flammable liquid with him.

An officer discharged a Taser and a fire started.

Since January 1, 2012, Taser has been deployed 432 times in Cambridgeshire, people have been red-dotted on 37 occasions and there have been three discharges.

On none of these three occasions have there been any injuries or medical problems caused to the person who has been Tasered.

Ch Insp Church said: “Taser will only be used when absolutely necessary and will be considered alongside other options including negotiation, batons, incapacitation sprays and dogs.

“Officers have already gone through selection criteria to carry a Taser and will need to pass a rigorous training course set nationally.”

● What do you think? Should more police carry Tasers? Email postbag@royston-crow.co.uk

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