Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Tasers for all Hampshire police officers with 'operational need'

Officer with Taser X2 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Hampshire Constabulary said 620 officers would be equipped with Tasers initially

A police force has said it will issue Tasers to all officers with a "clear operational need".

Hampshire Constabulary said it would begin by doubling the number of Taser-trained staff to 620.

Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said the deployment would be "one of the largest in the country".

Hampshire's Police Federation said it expected a "big uptake" from local officers after its own survey showed 90% of them wanted access to Tasers.

Chairman John Apter said: "This is a piece of equipment which has proven itself time and time again to protect officers in the most violent confrontations.

"Over recent months we have had evidence where officers have used Tasers and without doubt it has saved them from serious harm or indeed death."

Mr Apter said he had been lobbying the force for wider access to Tasers since a "modest increase" of 60 officers was announced in 2014.

He said the force would have to fund a three-day course for trainees as well as the cost of the weapons.

Ms Pinkney said: "It is our ambition that anyone with a clear operational need, who wants to, has the support of their line management and is able to carry a Taser, should have access to one.

"This will take time, and we are now working up a plan to deliver this starting with a doubling of our Taser trained officers from 310 to 620."

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