Thames Valley Police is today (11/1), announcing its plans to equip more officers with Taser Electronic Control Devices.
Following consultation with officers, local police area commanders and the Police Federation, the Chief Constable’s management team has implemented a plan that will see more officers being selected, assessed and trained to be equipped with the devices.
This will see the total number of officers within Thames Valley trained to use Tasers increase by 280 to 485. This equates to a rise from 4.9 percent of officers to 11 per cent.
The Force first issued Tasers to officers in 2004. Currently only firearms officers are permitted to carry and use Taser devices.
Over the past three years the total number of Taser deployments has increased from 795 in 2010, to 842 in 2011 and 936 in 2012.
However, the number of instances where the devices were actually discharged has remained low, with only 16 incidents resulting in a discharge in 2010. This equates to 2 per cent of the total number of incidents where the use of a Taser was authorised.
In 2011 there were only 14 incidents where a Taser was discharged. This is only 1.7 per cent of the total number of incidents where the use of a Taser was authorised.
In 2012 there were 16 incidents where officers discharged a Taser. This is only 1.7 per cent of the total number of incidents where the use of a Taser was authorised.
Assistant Chief Constable John Campbell, who is responsible for tactical support, said that this decision would also bring Thames Valley Police in line with the majority of other forces across the country.
He said: “Until this decision was taken, Thames Valley Police was one of five forces in England and Wales that only permitted firearms officers to carry Tasers.
“By rolling it out to specially trained officers, it will bring the percentage of officers trained closer to the national average of 11.5 per cent across the remaining 38 forces.”
Chief Constable Thornton added: "As Chief