The Chief Constable of Kent Police, Alan Pughsley, is increasing the number of Taser trained officers for the county in the face of a rise in violent crime.
Any officer in a public-facing role who is likely to have to deal with violent incidents while on duty will now be able to choose to go through the rigorous training and accreditation programme to carry the less than lethal weapon.
Currently, the force maintains specially-trained teams of officers armed with Taser who are able to assist their colleagues whenever called upon and these teams will remain in place.
In order to carry a Taser, all officers will have to successfully complete the force’s rigorous training and accreditation programme. Guidance states the weapon must be used proportionately and reasonably. No officer will be mandated to carry a Taser.
Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said: ‘We are recruiting and deploying more new officers thanks to increases in funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner, but I am increasingly of the view that it isn’t enough when we are dealing with violent county lines organised crime.
‘Violent crime and assaults on officers are rising and we are dealing with a criminal element who think nothing of carrying – and using – the most appalling knives against each other, against people they wish to rob and victimise, and ultimately against those that stand between them and their victims: the police.’
Between 2010 and 2018, figures for knife crime in Kent showed a 152 per cent increase, the largest in England and Wales over that time while Home Office figures show there were 1,112 assaults on police officers in 2017/18.
Last year, the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act came into force, increasing the sanction on people who assault emergency workers during the exercise of their functions from six months to 12 months.
Right thing to do
Mr Pughsley added: ‘During my time as Chief Constable of Kent Police I have steadily increased the availability of Taser to officers in roles that meet this sort of aggression and violence head on.
‘The deployment of more Taser-trained officers enhances our ability to robustly deal with incidents involving bladed weapons and make the public and officers safer.
‘I am firmly of the view that it is now the right thing to do.’