|50,000V Tasers for every cop|
By CLODAGH HARTLEY
Home Affairs Correspondent
Published: 12 May 2008
TASERS could soon be issued to ALL police officers — after a trial proved they deter violent criminals, the Home Office will announce today.
Figures show deployment of the 50,000-volt stun guns has soared 15 times and firing of them three times during the course of the tests by specially-trained units.
Only firearms officers normally have Tasers. But ten forces have successfully broadened their use in the 12-month trial which began last September.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: "Taser is making a real difference on our streets, not only keeping the public safe but also protecting police officers.
"I am committed to giving our cops the weapons they need. If the trial shows Taser to be a valuable tool, I can envisage a day when they could be routinely issued to all police officers."
Use of the devices has resolved potentially fatal incidents.
And cops have found the Taser does not even need to be actually fired. Drawing and aiming can be enough to stop criminals in their tracks.
The results released this morning show that in the first six months of the trial, Tasers were deployed 252 times, 236 in the past three months. But they were only discharged 31 times — 25 in the past three months.
A Home Office source stressed that all officers involved had been fully trained and followed strict guidelines.
Forces in the trial are: Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Gwent, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, Metropolitan Police, Northamptonshire, Northumbria, North Wales and West Yorkshire.