90 days from today is Mon, 21 December 2020
15 January 2020
Forces could find out their share of the £10 million extra cash for Taser as soon as next month, the Home Office has announced.
From 13 January Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) could bid for a share of the ring-fenced funding which it is hoped will equip 10,000 more officers with Taser.
“This is great news for the police service and for individual police officers,” says Jon Nott, chair of West Midlands Police Federation, “For some time now, we have been calling on the Government to give forces the funding they need to train and equip more officers with these devices.
“The latest nationwide survey on routine arming conducted by the Police Federation in 2017 revealed that only 15 per cent of respondents from West Midlands Police, for whom it was applicable to their role, had access to Taser at all times while on duty compared to 22 per cent nationally.
“That same survey revealed that 82 per cent of respondents from our Force said they wanted access to Taser at all times. Since then, we have seen an uplift but it has been difficult for the Force, along with others across England and Wales, to be able to fund this while struggling to meet demand with reduced resources due to the Government’s budget cuts and competing priorities.
“We welcome the fact that the Government, having announced this extra investment in a roll-out of Taser before the General Election, has now acted quickly to give forces access to these funds. All officers who want to be trained and equipped with Taser should be able to do so since it not only enables them to protect themselves but also their communities.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel, in opening the bidding process, said: “Our brave police officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect us and I am committed to giving them the tools they need to keep themselves and the public safe.
“The rise in assaults on officers is appalling which is why I am providing funding to equip up to 10,000 more officers with Taser - an important tactical option when facing potentially physically violent situations.”
The application process will involve PCCs outlining how many extra officers they plan to train to use Taser and then bidding via an online platform with their requests being based on the threat and risk in their local area.
The Home Office has said the final funding allocations for forces, which cover 2019/20 and 2020/21, will be announced as soon as February.
The Police Federation’s national chair, John Apter, has also welcomed this latest development and has urged the Government to provide more funding if the £10m does not cover what forces need.