2 March 2020
The Force has been allocated £165,000 so that it can equip an extra 200 police officers with Taser.
All but two forces across England and Wales had bid for a share of the £10 million the Government set aside for the uplift late last year and Derbyshire received the eighth highest allocation nationwide.
“I have repeatedly said, and firmly believe, that all officers who want to carry Taser should be trained and equipped to do so,” says Tony Wetton, chair of Derbyshire Police Federation.
“In recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of Derbyshire officers carrying Taser but, due to the effects of the Government’s budget cuts, the Force has just not been able to find the funds to roll them out to all those who want to have access to the devices.
“The latest Federation survey seeking officers’ views on routine arming was carried out in 2017 and revealed that only a quarter of Derbyshire respondents, for whom it was applicable to their role, had access to Taser at all times when on duty despite the fact that more than three quarters always wanted to have Taser with them.
“As a result, we have been calling on the Government to invest in a roll-out of Taser so that officers, who are facing increasing violence, can protect themselves but also the public. Taser has become an essential piece of equipment in modern-day policing and has saved many police officers and others from serious injury or worse.”
Police and Crime Commissioners across England and Wales sought a total of 7,923 Tasers at a cost of £6.5 million – a third under the total amount originally budgeted by the Government. The new money is intended to cover until March 2021.
The highest allocation was given to the Metropolitan Police which will get £1,965,150 to equip 2,382 officers with Taser. The second highest allocation was to Lancashire where an investment of £313,500 will enable 380 more officers to get the devices, followed by South Wales (331 more officers), Sussex and Surrey, jointly (328), Dorset (315), Merseyside (310), West Midlands (250) and then Derbyshire, with the highest allocation across the East Midlands.
Neither North Yorkshire or Staffordshire made a bid for a share of the £10 million. The lowest bid was made by Gloucestershire (30) followed by Cleveland (48) and West Mercia and Wiltshire (52 each).
A total of £150,000 has been allocated to support the training of Taser instructors with the remainder of the £10m being used to tackle serious violence and county lines drug gangs.
John Apter, the national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, has welcomed the funding allocation.
He said: “I have campaigned for ring-fenced funding for more colleagues to have access to Taser and it’s refreshing that the Home Secretary has listened and acted. It’s because of our lobbying that there will be almost 8,000 more Tasers available for my colleagues, this can only be a good thing.”
He continued: “This was a unique opportunity for forces to secure extra protections without shouldering the majority of the cost. I would have liked to have seen every penny of the £10m funding used to fund more Tasers. At a time when officer safety is dominating the headlines, I am surprised that some forces chose not to take advantage of this extra funding.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel, announcing the allocations, said: “Our brave police officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect us all and Taser is an important tactical option in potentially dangerous situations.
“This funding forms part of our commitment to ensure forces have the powers, resources and tools they need to keep themselves and the public safe.”
A recent snap-shot poll conducted by the national Federation suggested 89 per cent of officers would want to routinely carry Taser after being given appropriate training with nearly 97 per cent saying their colleagues should be allowed to carry the devices.