All frontline Durham officers to be offered Tasers, says new chief constable
Every frontline officer who wants a Taser will be able to carry one, the new chief constable of a leading force has said.
In a move to protect officers and the public, Durham’s chief constable Jo Farrell said upgraded Tasers and intensive training will be made available.
They work by delivering an electric charge which leaves a suspect temporarily incapacitated before they are restrained.
Over the coming year, the new X2 model will be brought in to replace the original X26 which has been used for the past 14 years.
The X2 is more powerful and can fire a second cartridge if the first misses.
Ms Farrell has led the force, which has been rated outstanding for the past four years, since June.
She said: “Sadly, there are situations in which police officers need to take immediate action to subdue violent suspects to protect the public.
“Tasers allow us to do so swiftly and safely, without causing lasting injury and are an extremely effective means of dealing with the many dangerous situations officers find themselves in.
“Too often our officers are subject to assaults in the line of duty, simply for doing their job.
“We need to make sure that our officers have the tools they need to protect the public and protect themselves”.
When Durham introduced Tasers in 2005, they were issued to a handful of authorised firearms officers.
Andy Jackson, chairman of Durham Police Federation, said: “I strongly support the wider roll-out of Taser to all frontline officers should they wish to be equipped with it.
“Taser is an extremely effective means of dealing with the many dangerous situations that officers often face on the streets and is a less lethal option than more conventional firearms.
“In a number of cases where Taser is drawn, it is not fired as the deterrent is enough, which helps protect communities as well as protecting officers from assaults.”
The news follows Northamptonshire Police’s chief constable Nick Adderley announcing every frontline officer in his force could have a Taser, because the risks to his staff had risen “dramatically”.