Thousands more police officers will be equipped with Taser under a Home Office-funded uplift.
Forces in England and Wales will receive £6.7m to purchase 8155 devices, the Home Office has announced. This could mean more than 8000 more officers will be able to carry Taser. A total of 41 forces submitted bids and all will receive the full amount of money they requested.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said, “Our brave police officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect us all and Taser is a vital option in dangerous situations. This funding forms part of our commitment to ensure forces have the powers, resources and tools they need to keep themselves and the public safe.”
Bidding, which launched in January, gave all Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) the chance to request money from a £10m ring fenced fund. Funding applications were based on the threats and risks in their local areas and PCCs outlined how many additional officers they plan to train to use Tasers.
The final funding allocations will cover the period up to March 2021.
£150,000 from the £10m fund has been allocated to training for Taser instructors. Around £3.1m remaining from this fund will go towards tackling serious violence and county lines.
John Apter, National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said, “Taser is an essential piece of equipment which has saved many police officers from serious injury or worse. I have campaigned for ring fenced funding for more colleagues to have access to Taser and it’s refreshing that the Home Secretary has listened and acted. Policing is dangerous and unpredictable, my colleagues need all the support they can get and I hope this extra funding will make a difference.”
Katy Bourne, Chair, Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said, “The priority for all Police and Crime Commissioners, alongside keeping the public safe, is the protection and safety of police officers and staff. PCCs recognise and appreciate the exceptional and often dangerous job that officers do to protect the public. Taser is one of a number of well proven tactical options available to police officers when dealing with an incident with the potential for conflict and we welcome the additional funding for it.”