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More Thames Valley Police officers to be equip with Tasers
MORE officers will be equip with Taser stun guns, Thames Valley Police has announced today.
An additional 205 officers will be hand-picked to use the electronic devices, taking the total up to 485 that are Taser-trained.
This is due to a rise in the number of incidents firearms officers are called to in support of unarmed colleagues, the force said.
It will also bring TVP in line with other forces and the 11.5 percent national average of policemen and women trained to use the stun guns.
Chief Constable Sara Thornton said: “I am satisfied the continued use of the Taser device across the force will only be considered in cases where it is necessary and proportionate to the behaviour the officers encounter.
"I have a responsibility to ensure that my officers are equipped to do the difficult job I ask of them.
“It is right that we have increased the availability of Tasers in line with other forces and we will keep our approach under review."
Over the past three years the deployment of Tasers by TVP has increased year-on-year, from 795 in 2010 to 936 in 2012.
But the devices were only actually used 16 times last year, on 14 occasions in 2011 and 16 times the year before that.
Assistant Chief Constable John Campbell, who is responsible for tactical support, said: “Over the past three years we have seen a rise in the number of incidents firearms officers with Tasers have attended.
“These are incidents where officers are faced with someone who is threatening violence or has the potential to cause significant harm to officers or members of the public, and on many occasions the offender will be believed to be carrying weapons.
“Over the same three year period we have also experienced a rise in the number of assaults on officers and staff.
“This move will provide further protection to the communities and officers across Thames Valley.”
The decision was taken by TVP’s management following consultation with officers, local area police commanders and the Police Federation.
Tasers were first used by Thames Valley Police in 2004 and only specialist firearms officer are permitted to carry and use the stun devices.