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Government must offer support

13th March 2017

 Police Oracle - The Government must offer financial support to enable forces to buy the new model of Taser, the Police Federation has said.As previously reported, the Home Office announced last week the new X2 model of Taser has finally been approved and is set to gradually replace the current X26 which was discontinued by the manufacturer in December 2014.

The Police Federation said it was “welcome news” but the rollout could be stopped in its tracks without funding to support it.“This is very much a case of give with one hand and take with the other,” said Police Federation Chair Steve White.

“Beyond simply giving it their seal of approval, the Government needs to offer financial support to allow forces to purchase the new device, otherwise it’ll stay firmly on the shelf. You cannot put a price on safety.”

In a statement on the medical implications of the X2, the Scientific Advisory Committee on the Medical Implications of Less Lethal Weapons (SACMILL) said the new weapon was “more complicated” than the X26 but that it was “broadly satisfied” by the evidence it had examined.

One of the main differences between the devices is that while the older devices have just one cartridge bay which are capable of delivering pulse waveforms at 19 pulses per second, the X2 has two bays and under certain modes may discharge at a frequency of 38 pulses per second.This means in cases where probes miss the subject, an officer would be able to rapidly deploy the second cartridge without having to reload as is the case currently,

“This has the potential to bring an individual under control more rapidly and reduce the likelihood of officers using other, possibly more injurious force,” it states.It also found the new devices may increase the risk of unintentional discharge by officers who are originally trained on the TASER X26 due to changes with the trigger function, but says it has been advised that a focus on this in training will help mitigate this risk.

From April, all forces will be required to record the ethnicity, age, location and outcome when taser is used and will publish the information locally on a quarterly basis and provide the data to the Home Office.SACMILL says usage and performance should be closely monitored for 12 months and that they should be notified in a “timely way” of any significant adverse events arising either operationally or during training, including near-miss events.They also recommended that body worn cameras should be worn by all officers using the devices.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said increased safeguards and transparency were required forthe introduction of the new device.“We ask the police to put themselves in harm’s way to defend us and the use of force is a vital part of their powers,” she said.“But when the police take the difficult decision to deploy force it is also vital that the people they serve can scrutinise it.“These new rules will introduce unprecedented transparency to this important subject and reinforce the proud British model of policing by consent.”