Tasers: How they helped save PC from man ‘about to throw kitchen knife’


Derby Telegraph - - NEWS -

as po­lice call it, saves lives.

They all con­firmed it re­moves the need for of­fi­cers to get up close and per­sonal with vi­o­lent crim­i­nals, or to cause se­ri­ous dam­age with po­ten­tially-lethal firearms.

Only one of the of­fi­cers we spoke to had even fired the Taser, as most of the time the psy­cho­log­i­cal threat of it is enough to quell vi­o­lence in sus­pects.

By sim­ply turn­ing off the safety catch, a red dot is shone on the tar­get that in­di­cates line of sight.

PC Simms said: “I used the Taser from 2006 to 2012 when it started to be rolled out and in that time I fired it just once, but I drew it many times.”

Around eight years ago, he was part of the Der­byshire po­lice’s armed re­sponse team.

He said: “It was a vi­o­lent do­mes­tic in­ci­dent in Chad­des­den. We were asked to at­tend to back up lo­cal of­fi­cers. On ar­rival the male had as­saulted his part­ner, smashed his house up and was threat­en­ing of­fi­cers.

“They had de­ployed around five cans of CS gas that had had no ef­fect. It usu­ally only takes a cou­ple of sprays to calm some­one down.

“He came out­side armed with a large kitchen knife and went to throw it at me so I de­ployed my Taser, which im­me­di­ately in­ca­pac­i­tated him. I think if I had not had the Taser, I would have shot him, which could have been fa­tal.

“I even saw him in court later on and he came up to me and shook my hand. He said he was so sorry and that he had never felt any­thing quite like it in his life. It was so painful.

“The value of a Taser is mas­sive. It pre­vents in­jury to the sub­ject, mem­bers of the pub­lic and po­lice of­fi­cers them­selves.”

PC Simms, who is a Taser in­struc­tor, wanted to clear up con­fu­sion From left to, PCs Dar­ren Mab­bott, Louisa Briscoe, Jon Simms and Sgt Pete Moss

in the me­dia about usage of the weapon.

The num­ber of “uses” of the Taser can make it seem like it is fired of­ten, he said, when this is not the case.

“Use” can de­note any­thing from be­ing drawn all the way up to fir­ing it. The vast ma­jor­ity of times it is au­tho­rised (more than 95%), the Taser is not fired.

PC Dar­ren Mab­bott, an­other in­struc­tor, said: “I first was trained in the Taser in 2007 and I used it for 11 years but I have never needed to fire it.

“The red dot is usu­ally enough to make peo­ple calm down and avoid vi­o­lence. It shows the per­son that the next thing that hap­pens could be them get­ting shot by it so it has a large psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fect.”

Sgt Pete Moss, Taser train­ing man­ager, spoke of his ex­pe­ri­ences with the weapon: “I was firearms be­fore and I was trained in the Taser in 2012.

“I have never had to fire it at a per­son in the field. I have trained the red dot on some­one and that’s the most I’ve done. The ma­jor­ity of of­fi­cers who are trained in it have not fired it in the field.

“The red dot is the most ef­fec­tive form of use for the Taser I think be­cause it has such a psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fect on peo­ple.

“It saves lives: both of our of­fi­cers who aren’t firearms trained Many Der­byshire Po­lice of­fi­cers are trained to use the non-lethal Taser who don’t need to get close to deal with a threat, and of the pub­lic who are no longer un­der threat of vi­o­lence.”

The Derby Tele­graph pre­vi­ously re­ported that Der­byshire Con­stab­u­lary plans to roll out 100 more Taser trained of­fi­cers this year.

Sgt Moss con­firmed the force would only need to buy an­other 20 Taser X2s to fully equip this team, as usage of a Taser can be ro­tated.

The Taser has been widely well re­ceived by the pub­lic. Since the in­tro­duc­tion of the X2 in 2017, there have only been two com­plaints from mem­bers of the pub­lic, both of which were un­founded, the of­fi­cers said.

Our re­porter was al­lowed to in­spect a Taser up close. They de­scribed it as look­ing “hi-tech” with a com­puter screen on it that de­noted which of the car­tridges was ready to fire, laser sights and a warn­ing sign if there was a fault de­tected.

It even knows how best to al­lo­cate volt­age to the sub­ject to get the best re­ac­tion.

Dur­ing the day, of­fi­cers were sub­ject to rig­or­ous test­ing us­ing the de­vice, in­clud­ing be­ing able to shoot from the floor in awk­ward po­si­tions, fir­ing on the move with both dom­i­nant and off-hand and also fir­ing in low light with blue po­lice lights flash­ing. These all sim­u­lated real-life sce­nar­ios.

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