SIXTY frontline police officers will be trained to use Tasers at a cost of almost £20,000, Hampshire Constabulary has announced.
The decision to increase the number of officers allowed to carry Tasers follows discussions with the Police Federation and Hampshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
More than 300 officers are already trained to carry Tasers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Training is due to be completed by the end of 2015.
Experienced officers on targeted patrol teams and in the roads policing unit will be able to apply for the training.
Hampshire Constabulary chief superintendent, Scott Chilton, said: ‘We recognise that frontline officers require necessary equipment to manage a range of difficult and dangerous circumstances.
‘The experiences of using Taser show it can be an effective option for calming and resolving situations safely with less risk of serious injury to officers, suspects, victims, and other members of the public.
‘Not every officer is given a Taser; we make training decisions based on a proportionate number that can help keep the public and police safe in our local communities.’
Simon Hayes, police and crime commissioner for Hampshire, added: ‘Increasing the number of officers trained to carry Tasers will improve frontline policing to deter criminals and keep communities safe, which is a priority in my Police and Crime Plan.
‘Alongside enabling this investment, I have been clear that each use must be justified as being necessary and proportionate to the perceived threat.’
Responding to the news, John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, said: ‘I am pleased that the chief constable and the crime commissioner have listened to our calls for a wider rollout of Taser and agreed to train a further 60 officers to use it. Tasers are an effective way of preventing violent confrontations from escalating.’