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4 December 2014, 07:07 | Updated: 4 December 2014, 07:17
More officers at Hampshire Police are going to be trained to use Tasers.
The decision by the force follows 'careful consideration' of discussions with the Police Federation and Hampshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
An additional 60 frontline officers will be chosen for training. More than 300 officers have training already to carry Tasers in Hampshire Constabulary.
The cost of the training, approved by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), will be nearly £20,000 and is due to be completed by the end of 2015. Applications will be invited from experienced officers on Targeted Patrol Teams (TPT) and in the Roads Policing Unit (RPU).
Hampshire Constabulary Chief Superintendent Scott Chilton said:
“We recognise that frontline officers require necessary equipment to manage a range of difficult and dangerous circumstances.
“The experiences of using Taser show it can be an effective option for calming and resolving situations safely with less risk of serious injury to officers, suspects, victims, and other members of the public.
“The force has listened and acted upon the views of officers, whom in a recent Police Federation survey supported an increase in access to Tasers.
“Not every officer is given a Taser; we make training decisions based on a proportionate number that can help keep the public and police safe in our local communities.
“The use of Taser across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight reflects the rigourous and consistent training completed by officers specifically selected as meeting the high standard required to carry one.”
Simon Hayes, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire, commented:
"Increasing the number of officers trained to carry Tasers will improve frontline policing to deter criminals and keep communities safe, which is a priority in my Police and Crime Plan.
"Alongside enabling this investment, I have been clear that each use must be justified as being necessary and proportionate to the perceived threat."
At the Hampshire Police Federation open meeting in October, Chairman John Apter called on the Chief Constable to roll out the use of Taser to more officers after a survey of members showed 84% were in favour of more being issued because of concerns over officer safety.
Responding to the news, John Apter said:
"I am pleased that the Chief Constable and the PCC have listened to our calls for a wider rollout of Taser and agreed to train a further 60 officers to use it.
"Tasers are an effective way of preventing violent confrontations from escalating, and in the short time we have been using Taser we have seen this to be the case. My priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our members, those police officers who put themselves in the line of danger to protect the public.
"Police officers need to know that they have the best protection available, especially following recent cuts to officer numbers. Today's decision is a step in the right direction."