Frontline bobbies may soon be given the option to be equipped with a Taser, following pressure on police chiefs from the Police Federation.
On Monday it voted in favour of equipping police officers with the electrically-charged weapons after last month the threat of a terrorist attack targeting a police officer was raised to a "severe" level.
Uniformed officers on the beat would be given the option to train in the use of stun guns, seen as being at greatest risk in a public-facing role. The Police Federation is expected to pressure Home Secretary Theresa May to provide funding for the equipment at a meeting today.
“This is a step in the right direction and we will now work with ACPO [Association of Chief Police Officers], individual chief officers, the Superintendents’ Association and the Home Office to progress this as a matter of urgency," said Steve White, chair of the Police Federation.
“We have long called for a wider rollout of Taser. Now the time is right for all operational police officers to have the option to carry Taser, which I believe will provide greater public reassurance.”
Currently, only 10 per cent of the police force are trained in the use of Taser weapons. It takes two days to three days to train an officer in the shocking pistol's use, costing £1,000 per officer. Equipping all frontline officers with 50,000 volt gun could run a bill into millions of pounds, and critics believe arming rank-and-file police could put a barrier between the force and communities. [Guardian]