BTP Police To Carry Tasers In Scotland

2 September 2016, 05:55

Officers who police Scotland's railways are to carry Tasers as part of a security step-up on the network.

British Transport Police (BTP) said the decision to equip a number of specially-trained officers with the device is a "proportionate" response to the current terrorist threat to the UK.

The force cited an incident at Leytonstone station in east London in December where police used a Taser on a man who slashed a stranger, stopping him from harming further passengers.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Alun Thomas said: "This decision is not based on specific intelligence of any criminal behaviour or imminent threat, but will allow us the option to deploy Taser devices where, in the course of their duty, an officer needs to protect the public or themselves by using force.

"The current threat to the UK from international terrorism remains 'severe', meaning an attack is highly likely.

"Recent terrorist attacks across the world are a stark reminder that the threat from terrorism is a genuine risk and it is important that we keep our security measures and operational tactics under constant review.''

Mr Thomas said the use of a Taser in the Leytonstone incident had "undoubtedly prevented even further harm to the travelling public''.

Chief Superintendent John McBride, divisional commander for Scotland, said: "Our role at British Transport Police is to keep the public safe, along with the thousands of people working on the railways and our officers and staff.

"Across the UK every day, we have officers patrolling at stations to reassure the public, disrupt any criminal activity and respond to emerging incidents.

"Providing Taser devices to a number of our officers in Scotland to consider when confronted with extreme violence means we are better-placed to deal with extreme threats and will be in the best possible position to protect passengers and staff on the railways.''