Po­lice make a bid for more taser weapons

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion - by Chris Price cprice@thek­m­group.co.uk

TASER weapons could be used on more crim­i­nals in the county if a Kent Po­lice bid for gov­ern­ment fund­ing is suc­cess­ful.

Chief Con­sta­ble Mike Fuller and se­nior col­leagues are com­pil­ing a bid to be sent to the Home Of­fice at the end of the month to make taser guns avail­able to reg­u­lar po­lice as well as firearms units.

The Home Of­fice is allocating £8 mil­lion to the is­sue of the weapons, with forces across the coun­try in­vited to state their case for a share of the pot next year.

At a Kent Po­lice Au­thor­ity (KPA) meet­ing last week the Chief Con­sta­ble said he was in­ter­ested in cre­at­ing spe­cially trained units with taser equip­ment.

He said “The ad­van­tage with a taser is it not only acts as pro­tec­tion to both of­fi­cers and the pub­lic but it also stops very se­ri­ous in­jury be­ing caused to any­body who’s be­ing vi­o­lent or threat­en­ing vi­o­lence.

“Our po­lice of­fi­cers al­ready have a num­ber of items of safety equip­ment like metal asps but if they are used they cause very se­ri­ous in­jury to who­ever they are used upon.

“With the taser gun the threat from the red dot of the laser on some­one’s chest and the knowl­edge they may end up with 10,000 volts through them is enough for them to sur­ren­der any weapon they may have.

“A lot of po­ten­tially se­ri­ous in­ci­dents are re­solved with no weapon be­ing fired at all.”

Mr Fuller told the KPA there was a de­crease in crime in Kent of 7.5 per cent from April to Oc­to­ber and that vi­o­lent crime went down 6.6 per cent in the same pe­riod.

Se­ri­ous vi­o­lent crime has gone up 132.5 per cent, but this was put down to count­ing rule changes.

“In terms of chances of suc­cess with our bid we’ve seen de­clin­ing num­bers of firearms in­ci­dents and vi­o­lence in the last year so that won’t help us” said Mr Fuller.

“We are not a vi­o­lent county so the bid will need to be made on the grounds of of­fi­cer safety.”

Chief Con­sta­ble Mike Fuller - “taser acts as pro­tec­tion for of­fi­cers and the pub­lic”

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