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'Give us all Tasers' - Police officer's plea to protect staff from being attacked

West Mids Taser

Federation chief says being a police officer is currently a 'demoralising job'

All West Midlands police officers should be armed with Tasers in a bid to stem the tide of rising attacks on cops, a Federation chief has claimed. Sergeant Richard Cooke, a serving officer who is also head of the West Midlands Police Federation, which represents rank and file cops, said he was hugely concerned by the threat facing officers on the region's streets.

Birmingham Live reported last week how 200 cops are attacked every month while doing their duty on the streets of West Midlands, highlighting the dangers brave officers face on a daily basis. It comes as more than a third of the force's officers who took part in a new survey said they did not consider their mental to be good.

 Sgt Cooke insisted officers need greater protection and believes equipping all of them with Tasers would make thugs think twice about attacking them. The Police Federation chair claimed "politics" and chiefs not wanting to "be seen to be arming police" is currently preventing a mass Taser roll-out from happening.

He said: "We're getting 200 assaults a month. Bosses are reluctant to give us equipment like Tasers because they're worried about politics and perception when they should be worrying about looking after officers."

Around 1,000 of the 7,500-strong West Midlands force carry Tasers and a review is currently ongoing into whether that number should be expanded. Sergeant Cooke said officers want as much protection as possible when doing their jobs and fears rising attacks could make some cops question whether it is still the right profession for them.

He said: "It's a massive concern for me. We get the (assault) figures every morning, and those are just the ones that are reported. We're campaigning for further Taser roll-out precisely because of this.

"It doesn't prevent all assaults but evidence suggests you're nine times less likely to be assaulted if you've got a big yellow thing strapped to your vest when you get out of the car. It changes the dynamics.

"We're policing some of the most violent streets in Britain. We're subjected to so much risk of being assaulted. We're in the grip of a crime epidemic. We're still in this Victorian mindset of officers going out with a little stick and a tin of spray."

Sgt Cooke also fears a series of recent scandals involving the Met Police have resulted in all cops being "tarred with the same brush" and believes some young officers are finding the job is "not all it was cracked up to be". He said he was not surprised morale within the force was currently so low.

He added: "They are faced with rising assaults, ongoing criticism, a lack of support from politicians and senior officers who have to be seen to pander to the Twitter groups. They don't seem to back us up as much as they should.

"It's a very demoralising job at the moment. I had an officer ring up who is four years is resigning, he's had enough."

West Midlands' elected Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, has labelled attacks on officers "utterly unacceptable" and has pledged to do all he can to help bring thugs responsible to justice.

Superintendent Martin Hurcomb, from West Midlands Police, said: “There’s nothing more important to us than the safety of our people and the safety of the public. Taser is a really useful tool in a suite of options that help officers to stay safe and to keep people safe. 

Birmingham Live 

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Thursday, 19 May 2022

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