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Police Federation

Taser

A short documentary from the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) explaining the fundamentals of Taser: why it’s needed, how it works, and who can use it.

We strongly support the wider roll-out of Taser to all frontline officers should they wish to be equipped with it. Taser is an extremely effective means of dealing with the many dangerous situations that officers often face on the streets and is a less lethal option than more conventional firearms. In 85% of cases where Taser is drawn, it is not fired as the deterrent is enough, which helps protect communities as well as protecting officers from assaults.

In a snapshot poll of PFEW members carried out by the Federation and LBC in autumn 2019, 89% of officers said they would want to routinely carry Taser after being given appropriate training, with nearly 97% saying their colleagues should be allowed to carry the devices. A poll of the public conducted at the same time show that 73% of people thought officers should be able to carry Taser.

This mirrors our previous research. In 2015, the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) voted unanimously for the larger roll out of Taser and that stance remains unchanged.

In a survey in 2016, just 14% of members who responded said they have access to Taser, but 43% more said they would like access to it.

In February 2019 the Home Office announced that student officers would also be permitted to carry Taser if they meet the strict training standards.

And in September 2019, it announced it is giving police forces £10 million in additional funding to significantly increase the number of officers carrying Taser meaning chiefs now have the ring-fenced funding needed for a wider roll-out.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council is currently conducting a review of officer safety but has been reluctant in the past to support a full roll-out of the equipment. However some individual chief constables have committed to providing Taser to all officers who want to carry it and pass the assessment process.

Background

In November 2016, we commissioned Ipsos MORI to do a survey of public opinion on Taser. It showed that 71% of respondents consider it acceptable for police officers to carry Taser when on patrol. Other key findings included:

  • 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
  • 89% said forces should be allowed to train and equip officers if the use of Taser is automatically recorded by Body Worn Video
  • 97% of respondents said they were aware of what a Taser is
  • 79% 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 the headline statistics of the survey findings.

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

In January 2017, a survey of members showed that 82% who responded said Taser should be issued to more frontline officers, up 8% since 2014. In particular, members wanted more availability of Taser for those in roles within neighbourhood policing (86%), roads policing (86%) and response (82%).

Read the headline report of the survey findings.

How would a further roll-out be funded?

Following the commitment to provide ring-fenced funding, the Federation will continue to lobby the government for further central funding for forces to purchase more Tasers without the money having to come out of their local budgets.

What about Authorised Firearms Officers?

Taser is by far the preferred option to firearms, with only a fifth of officers surveyed by the Federation in 2016 having or wanting personal firearms for use, and a third wanting or having access to rapid response firearms teams. Find out more about our work to support AFOs.

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