Police force to give more officers Tasers

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MORE Warwickshire Police officers are to be trained to use Tasers.

The force currently has 62 officers trained in the use of Taser, but that will increase to 90 over the next few months.

Warwickshire Police has had Tasers available to them since 2004 and they have been drawn or fired 118 times in the last three years.

And Chief Constable, Martin Jelley, said a strategic review had decided that having more officers trained in the use of them would ensure the force would be better equipped to protect people from harm.

Last month it was announced that all frontline officers would wear body cameras.

A Taser is an electroshock weapon that fires two small dart-like electrodes, which stay connected to the main unit by conductors to deliver electric current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles causing what is known as neuromuscular incapacitation.

Someone struck by a Taser experiences extreme pain and over-stimulation of sensory nerves and motor nerves, resulting in strong involuntary muscle contractions.

Mr Jelley said: “Taser is an important tool that enables our officers to appropriately deal with situations that pose a significant risk to members of the public and our workforce.

“It is not something that we use lightly and the number of times it has been used by the force remains very low. In fact, just the mere presence of a Taser is often enough of a deterrent to bring such situations to a quick and safe conclusion.

“Following a strategic assessment of the threats and risks posed to our communities and our workforce, we have made the decision that we need to increase our number of Taser-trained officers.

“The selection of these additional 28 officers will commence in the new year and they will undergo a comprehensive training package that ensures they can respond appropriately to incidents that may require the use of Taser.

“It is just one tool available to our officers who seek to protect our communities from harm but an important one nonetheless.”

West Mercia Police, which is in a strategic alliance with Warwickshire, will not increase the number of officers trained to use Tasers.

Two of West Mercia officers are currently being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) following the death of former Aston Villa footballer, Dalian Atkinson, in August, following the use of a Taser on him during an incident in Telford.