Time for change – More officers want Taser

31 January 2017


Police officers have shown their overwhelming support for the wider roll out of Taser.

In a survey, carried out by the Police Federation of England and Wales, 82% of federated officers who responded said Taser should be issued to more frontline officers, up 8% since 2014.

In particular, respondents wanted more availability of Taser for those in roles within neighbourhood policing (86%), roads policing (86%) and response (82%).

The results come a month after a public survey showed 71% of those taking part considered it acceptable for police officers to carry Taser when on patrol.

Steve White, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales said: “Our members have spoken, the public have spoken, now it’s time to hear from those in a position to make this change happen.”

Two thirds (66%) of those already trained to use the device has had cause to use it, although 68% did not need to actually fire it. More often than not drawing Taser can deescalate a situation.

65% said their last use of Taser was to avoid danger to themselves. This echoes Home Office statistics that suggest an officer is assaulted at least every 22 minutes in England and Wales, although this number is expected to be much, much greater.

A campaign by the Police Federation of England and Wales to Protect the Protectors starts in earnest in February and is just one area where the organisation is seeking a change in legislation so that officers who are assaulted in the course of their duties are afforded better protection.

Figures released last week show that officer numbers continue to fall, 21,500 less officers since 2009.

Steve White added: “The very real reality is that we live in a very dangerous world. With an increasing population and ever evolving demand on policing our members must be afforded the right equipment to keep both the public and themselves safe.”

A replacement model of Taser, the X2, still awaits final Home Office approval before it can be rolled out to frontline officers, something the Police Federation fully supports.

“Public and officer attitudes are changing and the benefit Taser can offer is clearly recognised. The government has previously stated its commitment to providing the police with the necessary tools to protect police and their communities, it’s now time to deliver on that commitment.”

The Metropolitan Police Federation are currently conducting a separate firearms / Taser survey of its members. The results of this survey are expected to be released shortly.

Other statistics of note:

  • 94% of officers wanting Taser issued to a wider group of frontline officers said they were more in favour of this now compared to when Taser was first introduced.
  • 25% of officers who responded said they are currently trained to carry Taser and 82% of these officers say they routinely carry it.
  • 96% of officers currently trained to carry Taser say it is beneficial in their current role.

Read a copy of the headline results from the survey