CRIME commissioner Phillip Seccombe is not convinced tasers should be standard issue for all police officers in Warwickshire.
The newly-appointed Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner spoke following a debate at the Police Federation’s annual conference on a national roll-out of the stun guns.
He told The Observer: “Warwickshire already benefits from a wide range of resources and highly-trained officers with the capacity and equipment to deal with any incident with the appropriate means, including through the use of taser.
“While primarily the decision to arm officers with taser is an operational one taken by the chief constable, I would need to be convinced that there is need to arm every officer who volunteers to carry one.
“In my view doing so would risk the important principle of policing by consent in this country and I am not convinced that it would lead to a reduction in assaults on officers or be in the best interests of the public.”
“Vverall I am content that the force’s policy to keep the deployment under review and based on the current risk and threat potential is a sensible strategy.”
He plans to attend a demonstration on the police’s use of taser which he said would give him the chance to talk to frontline and senior officers and gauge their opinions on the issue, based on their first hand experiences.
John Apter, the chair of Hampshire Police Federation, argued at the conference that it was wrong to accept assaults on police officers as simply being part of the job, and the move to issue tasers would go a long way to reducing attacks.
Warwickshire and West Mercia Police currently has 461 taser trained officers who respond to incidents across the force area.
Supt Daryn Elton, spokesman for the two forces, said: “We are considering, in line with national discussions, whether there are operational reasons to increase that number but at the present time no decision has been made.”
“The national agreement is that the current threat and risk picture in the UK does not justify a roll out to all officers who volunteer at this time and any increase in the future would be in line with current best practice.
“Issuing tasers to officers and the deployment of armed officers is always carried out under rigorous national standards of training, supervision and command.”