Shropshire Star

Call to arm frontline police officers with tasers

All police officers on routine patrol should be allowed to carry tasers, the country's chief firearms officer has said.

Simon Chesterman

Simon Chesterman, the armed policing lead for the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) and former West Mercia Deputy Chief Constable, indicated he supported a wider rollout of the weapon amid fears of a growing threat to front-line officers.

The possibility of expanding the pool of staff eligible for taser training was first mooted last year as police leaders launched a review to examine what further measures may be needed to ensure staff could protect themselves and the public when faced with armed terrorists.

Pc Keith Palmer was stabbed to death in the Westminster attack nearly one year ago, while an officer was hurt when he confronted the London Bridge terror gang with a baton.

In both cases the attackers were ultimately shot dead by armed police.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Mr Chesterman said: "I personally would not want to be a frontline patrol officer now without taser.

"My view is that if an officer wants to carry it and they can meet the standard, they should be allowed to carry it."

Asked whether he expected to see most officers armed with tasers on the beat, Mr Chesterman said: "I think we should be having more of a conversation with the public about this.

"I hope we will see an increasing rollout of taser."

The NPCC has previously said the number of officers in a force who are trained and equipped with tasers will remain a decision for individual chief constables.

Mr Chesterman agreed with this assessment, adding: "I think officers now deserve the protection it affords them."

He praised the weapon's ability to save lives and said it was less damaging than a baton, but conceded that some "perceive (taser) as an instrument of torture".