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16 November 2020
Police officers are now permitted to carry Taser in court after years of campaigning for a change in legislation.
From today (November 16), subject to local policy, members will no longer have to remove the equipment when attending court on routine business, such as giving evidence or delivering exhibits after the Lord Chief Justice amended the Criminal Practice Direction.
Evidence gathered from frontline officers by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) highlighted the difficulties they faced when having to remove and store the equipment before being allowed into court – including lack of secure storage facilities and eating into their time. This helped police chiefs strongly demonstrate to the Judiciary and senior judges why a change in the law was desperately needed.
PFEW Firearms and Taser Lead Steve Hartshorn said: “This is a big step forward for policing and we would like to give credit to NPCC Lead for Less Lethal Weapons Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi, NPCC Taser Advisor Inspector Andy Harding, and the team that worked hard for many years to get the changes required that will help our officers on a daily basis.
“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.
“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.”
If there are any issues encountered on the matter over the coming weeks, we would recommend contacting your local Federation branch.