By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 17 May 2022 • 10:58
UK volunteer police officers to be armed with Taser stun guns
The announcement on Tuesday, May 17, was questioned by Amnesty International, who called it “a dangerous expansion” in their use.
However, the home office believes it is justified with the more than 8,900 volunteer officers in England and Wales, not provided with any defensive equipment.
According to the BBC, the Home Office Sectary, Priti Patel, has said that special constables should be able to use the electric stun guns if they complete the specific training. The choice of using the Tasers is being left to individual police forces.
The use of Taser, which were Introduced in 2003 was initially limited to firearm officers, with their use extended in 2008 to include non-firearm officers.
Emitting a high voltage charge, the stun gun temporarily disables those that have been “shot” with the unit.
It is understood that to carry a Taser, special officers will have to have completed a year’s service and have at least 200 duty hours after they have achieved “directed patrol status”.
Equipping volunteer officers follows the passing of the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act last month, which allows special officers or constables to join the Police Federation. That is in important step in providing the officers with legal assistance in the immediate aftermath of incidents.
Home Office figures show Tasers were used 34,429 times in 2020/21, up from 32,058 times the year before.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has called for clearer guidance on the use of Tasers, with the organisation saying that black people were more likely to face a Taser, and some officers were not considering the risk of injury to vulnerable people.
Usage should be limited to highly-trained specialist officers according to Amnesty International who said that arming volunteer officers is a dangerous expansion that will inevitably lead to the increased firing of Tasers.
The decision to arm volunteer police officers with Taser stun guns is part of the home office’s plans to deal with the rise in knife and drug related crime.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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