More police to be trained in Taser use

PUBLISHED: 16:48 30 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:57 11 May 2010

MORE police officers are to be allowed to use the Taser weapon which fires high voltage into people. Hertfordshire Constabulary has revealed it plans to extend the availability of Taser beyond its specialist firearms team from this week. As part of the Ho

MORE police officers are to be allowed to use the Taser weapon which fires high voltage into people.

Hertfordshire Constabulary has revealed it plans to extend the availability of Taser beyond its specialist firearms team from this week.

As part of the Home Office's commitment to providing officers with the tools they need to meet the demands of modern policing, the roll out of Taser to non-firearms officers has been authorised to all forces across the country.

Taser has been in use in Herts since June 2005, with its use limited to specialist firearms officers.

Now the use will be extended to specially selected and trained non-firearms officers and will be restricted to a limited number of officers from intervention teams.

It will be available for use in those situations where officers face violence or threats of violence of such severity that they need to use force to protect the public, themselves or the subject.

"Just as in firearms incidents, authorisation will still be required," said Supt Andrew Ewing, from the Constabulary's operational support department.

"However, once this has been given, officers will be able to use the most appropriate response - be it conventional resources such as officer presence, communication or PAVA spray, or the new option of Taser, according to the gravity of the situation and their threat assessment.

"Each officer (selected) will receive intensive and rigorous Taser training.

"It is crucial that the right officer, with the right training, uses the right procedures."

Temporary deputy chief constable Heather Valentine said: "We remain committed to using appropriate force only when necessary.

"While violent crime in our county is low, our officers do on occasions need to deal with individuals who threaten violence to both police and members of the public.

"In those situations, we need the ability to bring these incidents to a quick and safe conclusion and Taser is one of a number of ways that our officers can achieve this."

Taser will be rolled out in the eastern area of the county - which includes North Herts - by the end of March.

The actual use of Taser in the county remains very low.

Between April and November, 330 Taser-only authorisations were given.

Of those, it was deployed on only 12 occasions, and actually discharged just once.

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