The police and crime commissioner for Lincolnshire has voiced his backing for proposed government plans to allow volunteer officers to carry Taser stun guns on duty.
The government will authorise the use of electric stun guns for voluntary officers, so long as they complete the specific training, which translates to 12 months’ service and 200 duty hours after they achieve “directed patrol status”.
There are currently around 8,900 volunteer officers in England and Wales, who have the same powers and uniforms as paid officers, and the plans to expand these powers to carrying a Taser will be announced by Priti Patel on Tuesday.
The Home Secretary will make the announcement in a speech to the annual Police Federation conference, as the Home Office say the plans will help officers not feel disadvantaged when confronting attackers or criminals.
Lincolnshire’s head of crime Marc Jones took to social media on Tuesday to welcome the news, describing Tasers as “life saving tools” that protect people.
Mr Jones said: “Very pleased to see this happen. Chief Constables should ultimately decide who in their force should be trained to carry Taser including warranted specials. These life saving tools help protect officers, the general public and those it is pointed at.”
He went on to say there is a commitment in Lincolnshire to increase the number of officers trained to carry a Taser to 350, something the PCC describes as a “significant increase”.
Tasers were introduced to the UK in 2003, initially limited solely to firearms officers, before being extended to training non-firearms officers in 2008.
The calls for more officers holding tasers have resulted in a mixed reaction, with many citing an incident in 2016, when former footballer Dalian Atkinson died of a cardiac arrest after being stunned by a police officer for 33 seconds – more than six times longer than the normal cycle.