17 November 2020
Police officers will be able to better protect themselves, court staff and members of the public now that the law has been changed to allow them to carry Taser in courts, says Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton.
Tony was speaking after the Lord Chief Justice amended the Criminal Practice Direction which will mean officers – subject to local policy - will no longer have to remove the devices when in court giving evidence, delivering exhibits or attending on other routine business.
“I think common sense has prevailed,” says Tony, “It didn’t sit right with me that officers should have to remove their Taser when they entered a court building. They should have access to all protective equipment when they are on duty so that they can protect themselves and other people around them and that is as important in a court as it is elsewhere.”
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) had gathered evidence from front-line officers highlighting the difficulties they faced, including lack of secure storage facilities, when having to remove and store Taser before being allowed into court.
Steve Hartshorn, firearms and Taser lead for PFEW, thanked Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi, who is the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for less lethal weapons, NPCC Taser adviser Inspector Andy Harding and the team that worked hard for many years to secure a change in the law.
“We would also like to thank Federation members who took the time to supply evidence to support the successful outcome. It has been very frustrating for my colleagues whose jobs have been impeded at times because of this,” he said.
“This much welcomed and long-overdue decision means they can better protect themselves, the courts’ staff and the public if faced with violence or threats of violence and we appreciate the judiciary and senior judges for listening to the concerns raised.”