Northamptonshire’s top police officer has said that all of his frontline staff could be routinely carrying Tasers after a rise in attacks on staff.
Northants’ no-nonsense police boss Chief Constable Nick Adderley said that his officers were facing rising violence against them and that he could see Tasers being issued as standard within three years.
His comments came as 50 new Taser-trained officers completed training thanks to £67,000 funding from Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold’s office. The new Taser officers will be based in neighbourhood teams and rural areas in a first for Northants Police.
Speaking on social media, Chief Constable Adderley said: “The 50 additional Taser officers, funded by @NorthantsOPFCC have now completed their training and are ready to go. This is about better protection for the public and our officers, a commitment I made when first appointed-investing in the front line to make a safer Northants.
“If the level of violence towards our officers and staff continues at the rate that it is, I can see Taser being issued as part of an officer’s personal protective equipment within the next 3 years.”
Police officers have also been given the authority to decide for themselves on the spot whether they need to use the Taser or not, whereas previously they had to consult the control room inspector before deployment.
Chief Constable Adderley is a former Royal Navy Officer and Counter Terrorism expert. He took over the top role at Northants Police nine months ago and has quickly gained a reputation for protecting and enhancing frontline policing.
Last year, 380 Northants Police staff were injured during attacks, leading to an initial frontline officers being given Taser training.
Tasers were introduced to UK police forces in the early 2000s and their use has grown since then. They work by firing two barbed darts which deliver and electric current to incapacitate the person they are fired at. They are considered a less lethal way of halting criminals in their tracks than firearms.
However, eighteen people have died since 2006 in the UK after being Tasered, including former Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson and Amnesty International have called for the public to resist the ‘drum beat’ of calls for all police officers to carry them.
In December, they said: “Amnesty recognises that the police have a duty to protect the public and themselves from harm, but we’ve got serious concerns about the use of Tasers becoming the norm for day-to-day policing.
“Coroners have pointed to the use of a Taser as a key factor in the deaths of two people in the UK, but it’s likely Taser use was a factor in many more deaths. The Taser is a potentially lethal weapon and should be treated accordingly.”