More police officers to carry Tasers

More police officers to carry Tasers

Glenn Mitchell

More police officers to carry Tasers
A police officer using a Taser

The number of police officers equipped with Taser devices is to rise.

Thames Valley Police has confirmed it will push the number of staff trained to use high-voltage weapons from 280 to 485.

Tasers were first issued by the force in 2004. A policy was in place for only firearms officers to be carry them but the increased use will now see other frontline staff selected and trained.

Assistant Chief Constable John Campbell, who is responsible for tactical support, said the move was prompted by a rise in assaults on police and increasing demand for Taser-trained firearms officers to support unarmed colleagues over the last three years.

Staff now given Tasers will equate to 11 per cent of the force.

Chief Constable Sara Thornton said: "Officers will be specially selected and trained for this role.

"I have a responsibility to ensure that my officers are equipped to do the difficult job I ask of them."

Tasers were 'deployed' 795 times in 2010, 842 in 2011 and 936 last year but the figures for use of the equipment is much lower.

They were used 16 times in 2010, 14 times in 2011 and 16 times in 2012.

Amnesty International urged the force to ensure training standards are set at the highest level.

"Tasers are dangerous, potentially lethal weapons," said a spokesman.

"They should only be used where there is a risk to life or very serious injury."

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