Cambs police to triple number of taser carrying officers

Cambridgeshire Police

Cambridgeshire Police - Credit: Archant

MORE police officers will be able to use taser to help them deal with violent and unstable offenders, Cambridgeshire police has announced.

MORE police officers will be able to use taser to help them deal with violent and unstable offenders, Cambridgeshire police has announced.

Although the number of reports of violent crime in the district last year fell by 16 per cent, more than 120 additional officers are being trained to use the weapon.

Sixteen of the specially trained officers will be based in Huntingdonshire.

The officers have had to complete a three-and-a-half day course and pass a national eye test in order to be allowed to carry the weapons on the county’s streets.

It will take to 175 the number of Cambridgeshire officers allowed to carry and fire tasers – previously this was restricted to 55 fire arms officers.

Police say that the threat of the taser has the ability to ‘quieten’ offenders, preventing injury.

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Since January 2012, tasers have been carried by officers 432 times in the county, aimed 37 times and discharged three times.

Nick Church, chief inspector and lead officer on taser, said that they were an effective way of diffusing potentially violent situations.

“Extending the use of taser across the force will enhance the safety of both the public and officers,” he said. “The threat of using taser, where a red dot appears on the person’s torso, is often enough to quieten an offender so they can be dealt with without injury to them, officers or members of the public.

“Our officers have to deal with violent, often unstable, offenders and this simple device is one of a number of tactical options officers can use when there is a threat to a member of public or an officer.”

The timing of the announcement is just a week after a man died after suffering horrific burns in an incident when he was tasered by a police officer in Plymouth.

Police were called to the home of 32-year-old Andrew Pimlott following a domestic disturbance and told that he was in the garden and had a can of flammable liquid with him.

An officer discharged a taser and a fire started.

Cambridgeshire police stressed no injuries or medical problems had been caused in the three incidents its officers had used the tasers.

Inspector Church said that while he knew there had been recent concern over the extended use of tasers, firearms officers had been using them since 2006.

He said: “Taser will only be used when absolutely necessary and will be considered alongside other options including negotiation, batons, incapacitant sprays and dogs.

“Officers have already gone through selection criteria to carry a taser and will need to pass a rigorous training course set nationally.”

It is estimated that the roll out of Taser has cost the force £62,000 over the last year.