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The National Police Chiefs’ Council has supported proposals for selected probationers to be able to carry Taser after completing a rigorous application and training process.
Probationers are currently precluded from carrying Taser but chiefs agreed this option should be available based on local assessments of threat and risk, and are now discussing the proposal with the Home Office.
The number of officers in a force who are trained and equipped with Taser will remain a decision for individual chief constables. Probationers would be able to choose whether they apply to be trained to use Taser.
The NPCC and the College of Policing are considering the application process, which would require probationers to demonstrate the same level of competence in conflict management as officers who have passed their probation. Under this new system an officer’s suitability to carry Taser would be determined by their ability rather than their time served as an officer.
National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for Less Lethal Weapons, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D'Orsi said:
“Probationers are posted to the frontline and they respond to the same calls as other colleagues. These calls range from dealing with vulnerable people in need of help to incidents of violence. We want to ensure that they have the right equipment to keep themselves, suspects and members of the public safe. As part of this, we want to give forces the opportunity to train their probationary officers to carry Taser.
“At present, an officer’s suitability to carry Taser is determined by the amount of time someone has been an officer rather than the role they carry out or the skills they have. The diversity of our workforce has changed considerably and many of our probationers have professional and life skills from before they started their police career that demonstrates their capability and ability to carry Taser.
“Taser remains an emotive subject but, when compared with other use of force options such as the police baton, it is safer not only for police officers but also for the communities we work hard to protect.
“Police use of Taser is regulated by strict monitoring standards and is conditional on the completion of a robust training programme. We will continue to work with academics, medical experts and community groups on the issue of Taser, and I would like to thank them all for their work with us to date.”