Tasers could soon be available to all police officers who want them in England, after a police chief has pledged to arm all the officers in his force with one.
Chief constable of Northamptonshire police, Nick Adderley, said he would make tasers available to any frontline officers on his force, after one was used to subdue an attacker who was strangling another officer.
He said: “Over the weekend a Northants officer was forced to the ground and strangled to the point that they nearly lost consciousness. Due to the size of the offender, strikes proved ineffective, [pepper spray] was also ineffective.
“Thank goodness his colleague had a Taser, which saved his life”.
Body cameras must also be used alongside tasers
Tasers are non-lethal electroshock weapons, used by police to incapacitate suspects and criminals.
The use of tasers by police in England has increased significantly in recent years, as the number of assaults against officers has also risen.
Officers must receive training before being armed with tasers, but the Home Office has said it will make the funding available to train and equip police forces.
Police leaders have also committed to issuing body-worn video cameras to any officer carrying a taser, which should be used to record usage.
A number of police forces across the UK have already announced plans to fully roll out tasers to any frontline officers who need and want one.
A Police Federation poll found that 80 per cent of officers want to carry stun guns and would feel safer if allowed to do so.
Mr Adderley said: “The argument of ‘necessity’ to issue Tasers to every officer who wants one, ends right here. Today I may well have been speaking to the next of kin of my officer, delivering devastating news.”
He added: “Officers deserve all the protection we can give them.”
Tasers disproportionately deployed against BAME suspects
Last year, police chiefs launched a review into the use of tasers, after figures showed that they were being disproportionately deployed against black and ethnic minority suspects.
Home Office figures show that of 6,608 deployments of tasers, one in five were against black people, with a total of almost one in three being used against black and minority ethnic people.
There are also concerns that the model of taser police are issued with is less accurate and more painful than previous models.
The Taser 7 had a higher ‘miss rate’ than the two previous versions which have been used by British police.