Sussex Police to increase Taser-trained officers

Taser - Sussex Police
Image caption The use of more Tasers is not indicative of a rise in the threat of violence in Sussex, the force said

Specially trained non-firearms police officers in Sussex will be able to use Taser stun guns, the force has said.

From next Monday, 160 extra officers will be armed with the weapons. At present, only firearms officers are authorised to use them.

It will mean about 8% of officers will be trained in their use, compared to the national average of about 11.5%.

The force said they would be called to "violent or threatening situations" instead of armed response units.

Ch Supt Paul Morrison said experience had shown the presence of the 55,000-volt devices acted as a deterrent "to the escalation of violence".

'No rise in violence'

"Nearly 70% of incidents where there is a possibility of using Taser end without it being discharged," he said.

"Studies have also showed that the presence of Taser reduces the levels of force required by officers in violent situations avoiding, for example, the use of a baton or captor.

"In a significant number of cases simply the drawing and aiming of Taser is enough incentive for the person posing the threat to comply with officers."

He explained there would be no change in "day-to-day policing", but in the event of a violent situation officers would be able to request Taser support by colleagues locally, rather than from firearms officers based at central locations.

"Authority to use Taser will still have to be granted by senior officers, as has always been the case, and it is not the first option," Ch Supt Morrison continued.

"Their roll-out is not indicative of a rise in the threat of violence in Sussex."

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