All frontline police officers in Essex can apply to be taser-trained

A police officer demonstrating a taser gun Picture: PA WIRE

A police officer demonstrating a taser gun Picture: PA WIRE - Credit: PA

All frontline uniformed police officers in Essex are eligible to apply to become taser-trained, the force has confirmed.

A policeman demonstrating a US-style taser stun gun Picture: PA WIRE

A policeman demonstrating a US-style taser stun gun Picture: PA WIRE - Credit: PA

Essex Police said it currently has 211 specially trained officers (STO) and 180 armed firearms officers, making a total of 391 officers trained to carry a taser.

But all uniformed officers within the force are invited to express an interest in applying to undergo taser training.

The news comes after the chief constable from Northamptonshire Police made the decision to issue tasers to all officers from his force who want one.

Northamptonshire Chief Constable Nick Adderley insisted it wasn't a decision he had taken lightly but said it was time to accept that "risks to frontline officers have changed dramatically in the past 10 years".

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The announcement follows the death of Pc Andrew Harper in Berkshire last week as he responded to reports of a burglary.

In March, an increase of 120 specially trained officers was agreed in Essex and June saw a further 200 officers added.

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Following the increases, the number of specially trained officers in Essex will go from 211 to 531, which will take the force to a total of 711 taser-trained officers - including 180 armed firearms officers.

A spokewoman for Essex Police said: "All frontline uniformed officers are eligible to apply to become taser-trained officers and are invited to express an interest.

"We then assess the spread of existing officers to ensure geographical cover before putting the officers forward. "After the officers have been put forward, they then undergo an assessment, if successful, attend a three-day course.

"Taser-trained officers then have to requalify annually."

Suffolk police said it "continually reviews its position" on issuing the weapons.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable David Cutler said: "The recent tragic event in Thames Valley has again brought home the threats that police officers face on a daily basis across the country and we absolutely recognise the need to ensure that they can police our communities safely.

"We continually review our position."

While in a recent social media poll, Cambridgeshire police asked their 60,000 Facebook followers if they should equip their officers with the conducted electrical weapon.

A total of 93% of people responded in favour of arming officers with tasers in the poll.

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