Met Taser uplift must be replicated nationwide

20 June 2017

PFEW Chair Steve White

PFEW Chair Steve White

Other police forces must follow suit after this morning’s announcement by the Metropolitan Police to increase the number of officers trained to carry Taser.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick revealed the force will train and equip 1,867 additional officers to use the device, bringing the total number trained and carrying Taser to over 6,400 officers.

Following the announcement, Steve White, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales said there is a more urgent need than ever to support forces to achieve this, including the funding to do so.

Adding that this was something the Federation had been seeking for years, Mr White said: “The dangerous nature of policing is something we’ve seen play out very publicly in recent weeks. But these attacks aside, there’s no escaping the facts – violent crime and police assaults are on the rise.

“Forces need support to stem the flow and this is a step in the right direction. But it can’t be done with a click of the fingers. The rigorous training officers undertake to use Taser takes time and costs money.

“Speaking with the Home Secretary this morning, I made it clear that the government must commit to assisting forces in making it possible to train more officers to use Taser. No more time for talk.”

A survey of Federation members at the end of 2016 showed 82% of those that responded said Taser should be issued to more frontline officers, up 8% since 2014. Those surveyed cited particular areas which needed better availability as including: neighbourhood policing (86%), roads policing (86%) and response (82%).

The majority of the new officers to be trained in the Met (1,730) will be those in frontline roles.

A public survey outlined that 71% of those that responded consider it acceptable for police officers to carry Taser when on patrol.

Steve White said: “Our members support its wider availability, as do the public. It’s a no brainer.”

Commissioner Cressida Dick also outlined the forces commitment to ensure that every uniformed officer equipped with Taser will be equipped with Body Worn Video (BWV) by the end of 2017, giving further transparency to how it is used.

Mr White added: “Our Protect the Protectors campaign is calling for the better protection of those charged with the responsibility of protecting others. They are stifled in their ability to do this without the right investment and legislation to support them. Today’s news is welcomed but momentum must continue.”