Public show support for officers carrying Taser

09 December 2016

A Taser being discharged

The public have shown their support for police officers having access to Taser, dispelling the myth that it erodes community policing or the British model of policing by consent.

A survey, commissioned by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), has shown 71% of respondents consider it acceptable for police officers to carry Taser when on patrol.  Four out of five surveyed said it would make no difference to their decision, or they would be more likely, to approach an officer for assistance if they were carrying a Taser. In addition, 89% said forces should be allowed to train and equip officers if the use of Taser is automatically recorded by Body Worn Video.

Steve White, PFEW Chair, said: “We know officers support the use of Taser and Body Worn Video, and now we have the evidence that shows the public do as well.

“Yesterday I wrote to all chief constables and commissioners across England and Wales, outlining the survey results and asking them to support a wider roll-out of Taser and call for increased government funding to assist with this.”

The government has previously stated it is committed to providing the police with the necessary tools to protect individuals and the communities in which they live.  Taser remains a vital tool in a time of heightened threat and increased violence against officers. Home Office statistics suggest that an officer is assaulted every 22 minutes in England and Wales but other evidence sources indicate that the actual number is much greater.

The survey results come as a new replacement model of Taser, the X2, awaits final Home Office approval before it can be rolled out to frontline officers, something the Police Federation fully supports.  Steve White added: “Any equipment that helps improve the safety of not just police officers doing their duty, but also the public, is an absolute must. You cannot put a price on safety. The current model is obsolete with spare parts difficult to come by, while the X2 is even safer and more effective.

“The public clearly have their eyes wide open to the very real threats that exist. Attitudes are changing and people recognise the benefits Taser can offer.”

The survey was carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the PFEW using the online omnibus. The research took place in November with a nationally representative quota sample of 2,004 adults aged 16-75 in England and Wales.

Other key findings include:

  • 97% of respondents said they were aware of what a Taser is
  • 79% of respondents said that forces should be allowed to train and equip officers if Tasers were to be issued to police officers working alone
  • Only 17% disagree that all police officers should be given the option of being equipped with Taser

Read a summary of the survey findings

The full survey findings can be viewed on the Ipsos MORI website