MORE police on the frontline should be given a taser, the chairman of the area’s police federation has said.
Hampshire chairman John Apter told The News tasers offer additional protection for the public and officers.
It comes as the Steve White, chair of the Police Federation, told The Guardian all officers should be given the weapon in response to evidence of terrorist attacks aimed at killing police.
Mr White told the newspaper: ‘The terrorist ideal to get attention no longer relies on an attack being in a place of note.
‘It could be in Cheam high street, in any town, in any part of the UK.
But Mr Apter said the debate on tasers should not be taken over by a discussion of terrorism as even conventional firearms cannot prevent some attacks.
He said: ‘It’s the broader discussion about officer safety.
‘The evidence from officers is that taser has prevented serious assaults on them and members of the public.
‘It’s important that the debate is generated but I think this is about general protection for normal day-to-day patrol work.’
In December Hampshire police announced a further roll-out of taser to an extra 60 officers at a cost of £20,000 on top of 300 officers who have already been trained to use the weapon.
Mr Apter added cost is a major factor in holding back the further use of tasers.
And responding to concerns over the effects of tasers, Mr Apter added police face dangerous violent situations and cannot be expected to assess a person’s health before firing it.
Tasers have been linked to around 10 deaths in England and Wales in a decade.
‘If someone pulls a knife on an officer they’re not going to give them a medical questionnaire,’ Mr Apter said.
‘Officers have a right in law and morally to protect themselves and the public.’
‘We’ve got to give them all the tools we can to do that.’
He said a survey of frontline officers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight last year saw 87 per cent agree more tasers should be rolled out across the force.