02 March 2017
The Home Office has today announced its approval of the new X2 model of Taser for police in the UK.
While this is welcome news, with the current X26 model becoming increasingly obsolete and spare parts difficult find, there is a concern that the X2 rollout will be stopped in its tracks without funding to support it.
Steve White, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales said: “This is very much a case of give with one hand and take with the other. Beyond simply giving it their seal of approval, the Government needs to offer financial support to allow forces to begin using the new device, otherwise it’ll stay firmly on the shelf. You cannot put a price on safety.”
Today, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found that the police service is struggling to cope with the demand it faces, describing the approach given by forces as an “unconscious form of rationing”.
Mr White continued: “We keep saying it, because it’s true, demand on policing is both changing and increasing. Where we have to adapt to manage this change we need to equip those on the frontline with the right tools for the job, including Taser.”
In January, 82% of federated officers who responded to a national survey said Taser should be issued to more frontline officers, up 8% since 2014. And, a poll by the Metropolitan Police Federation revealed that 75% of its officers surveyed felt they should be issued with Taser whilst on duty.
The figures came a month after a public survey showed 71% of those taking part considered it acceptable for police officers to carry Taser when on patrol.
Mr White added: “The public clearly have their eyes wide open to the very real threats that exist. Attitudes are changing and people recognise the benefits Taser can offer.”
– A report on the medical impacts of Taser was also released today by the Home Office, and can be found here.
– The Home Office announcement today mentioned use of force. Simon Kempton, the PFEW lead on Operational Policing, recently which outlines the important changes to use of force recording and why this new process will help protect officers.
– More information about the public and member surveys in relation to Taser can be found on here