Tasers could be given to police officers in Dorset in wake of terror attacks

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CASH-STRAPPED rural police officers could be issued with Tasers in the wake of recent terror attacks, Dorset’s police and crime commissioner has said.

Martyn Underhill has called for a “thorough review” into the current counter-terrorism strategy after three atrocities were committed in the UK since March.

And he warned officers in Dorset would struggle to respond to a terror attack as quickly as the Met Police did on Saturday night.

He said: “Attackers can quickly change their modus operandi at will.

“Security services, policing and society must not only keep up, but stay ahead of the curve.

“That is why the chief constable and I are examining the option and cost of offering Taser to every police officer who requests one and who successfully passes the training.”

The Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, has previously called for all those who want to carry the electroshock weapons to be issued with them.

Dorset Police began a review of the number of officers trained to carry a Taser last year.

Mr Underhill also highlighted an “eye-watering” drop in police staffing.

“It is an undeniable fact that resourcing across the totality of policing has changed and reduced,” he said.

“During the past decade, the citizen to police officer ratio has increased by 23 per cent, rising from 381 citizens per officer in 2006 to 461 in 2016.

“This is due to both an increase in the overall population of seven per cent and a decrease in police officer numbers by 12 per cent. Coupled with this has been a loss of a third of the PCSO establishment.

“These numbers are eye-watering – 70,000 policing posts lost in a decade, at a time of increased demand and the now omnipresent terror threat.”

Mr Underhill said more funding is needed to keep people safe.

“With current resourcing levels, most rural forces across the UK would struggle to respond as quickly and as fully as the Metropolitan Police did on Saturday night,” he said.

“Policing needs more money and more resources.”

Daily Echo

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Thursday, 19 September 2019

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