TRAFFIC officers in Cambridgeshire will be armed with tasers for the first time after the county s police force was issued with an extra 120 of the stun guns. Currently only Cambridgeshire firearms officers carry the weapons, which deploy a powerful elec
TRAFFIC officers in Cambridgeshire will be armed with tasers for the first time after the county's police force was issued with an extra 120 of the stun guns.
Currently only Cambridgeshire firearms officers carry the weapons, which deploy a powerful electrical charge but the county's roads policing units are to be equipped with tasers later this year.
The extra tasers were supplied by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith last year.
According to a report from the Chief Constable Julie Spence to the Professional Standards Committee the units have been stored awaiting deployment to trained staff.
The report said they would be used in "non firearms situations involving violence or threats of violence of such severity that officers would need to protect the public, themselves or the subject/s".
It added: "The taser is not a replacement for existing personal safety tactical options but is an option that is considered alongside other personal safety options such as negotiation, batons, incapacitant sprays and dogs."
The extra tasers will be used by 30 road policing unit officers from each of the three police divisions (central - Huntingdonshire and Fenland, northern - Peterborough and southern - south and east Cambridgeshire).
Thirty will also go to officers in Cambridge to use against violent offenders.
Training is due to start in the summer and the roll out will take place later in the year.
A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said traffic officers may well have to be deployed to violent incidents and are often able to get to a scene quickest.
Supt Vicky Skeels, who is in charge of the roll-out, said: "Since the introduction of the taser in Cambridgeshire it has proven to be an effective tool in dealing with potentially violent situations safely and rapidly."
Financial implications include £45,000 for additional equipment including boards and target faces for training purposes, vests, storage cabinets and evidence kits. The costs will be made from within existing budgets.
Between April 1 2009 and December 2 2009 taser was authorised for use 338 in the county but it was only discharged twice. In both of these incidents, officers were dealing with a violent domestic situation where threats were made by a subject with a knife.
A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Police Authority said: "Taser discharges in Cambridgeshire are few and no complaints have been received.
"The Authority will continue to monitor the force roll-out of tasers, challenging where appropriate."
She added that a report by MORI in February found 71 per cent of the public to be in support of the police using tasers.