Durham to issue Tasers to every frontline officer
Durham Constabulary has become the second force in two days to announce it will issue conducted energy devices to all officers.
The force said the move is designed to offer more protection to both the public and the police.
All frontline officers who wish to carry one will be equipped with the upgraded X2 Tasers following intensive training in the safe use of the devices.
Over the next 12 months, the new model will be rolled out across the force, replacing the original X26 which has been used for the last 14 years.
On Tuesday (August 20), Northamptonshire Police said it would offer the devices to an additional 338 officers, equipping every officer in response, neighbourhood and proactive teams with Tasers.
Both forces said carrying a Taser will not be mandatory.
Durham Constabulary Chief Constable Jo Farrell said: “Sadly, there are situations in which police officers need to take immediate action to subdue violent suspects to protect the public.
“Tasers allow us to do so swiftly and safely, without causing lasting injury and are an extremely effective means of dealing with the many dangerous situations officers find themselves in.
“Too often our officers are subject to assaults in the line of duty, simply for doing their job.
“We need to make sure that our officers have the tools they need to protect the public and protect themselves”.
Tasers were first introduced into Durham in 2005, when they were issued to a handful of authorised firearms officers.
The X2 model Taser was authorised for deployment by the Home Office in 2017 and features a number of improvements on earlier versions of the system, most notably the capacity to fire a second cartridge if the first misses its target.
Andy Jackson, chairman of Durham Police Federation, said: “I strongly support the wider roll-out of Taser to all frontline officers should they wish to be equipped with it.
“Taser is an extremely effective means of dealing with the many dangerous situations that officers often face on the streets and is a less lethal option than more conventional firearms.
“In a number of cases where Taser is drawn, it is not fired as the deterrent is enough, which helps protect communities as well as protecting officers from assaults”.