More tasers coming to Suffolk

COPS in Suffolk are to receive one hundred additional 50,000-volt Taser stun guns, it emerged today.

COPS in Suffolk are to receive one hundred additional 50,000-volt Taser stun guns, it emerged today.

The weapons are being made available to police forces across the country as part of a get-tough approach by Home Office in the fight against violent crime.

The roll-out will mean that specially trained police response officers will be permitted to discharge Tasers. Currently, only dedicated firearms officers are allowed to use them.

The move follows a successful trial in ten forces.

Suffolk police currently has only 16 Taser guns, which have been employed on just 13 occasions since 2005 when they were first introduced.

Detective chief superintendent Stewart Gull said: “We are extremely pleased to have been successful in our bid for 100 extra Tasers.

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“Currently, Taser is only used by trained firearms officers whilst on Armed Response Vehicle (ARV) duties. However, following a small number of national pilot sites non-firearms officers can now be trained to carry and, where appropriate, use Taser.

“Taser gives officers an additional and effective less lethal option when faced with potentially dangerous situations.

“Tasers have proved to be extremely effective alongside our other negotiating tactics and even the warning that it may be used is often enough to diffuse the situation.

“Work is underway to look at how many non-firearms officers will be trained countywide, with a view to holding a pilot in the Lowestoft area this summer.”

The Taser fires two copper barbs that send out an electrical shock. It is designed to incapacitate temporarily, rather than injure.

Last November Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she would arm police with 10,000 Taser stun guns in an escalation of the government's fight against violent crime.

Ms Smith unveiled plans to enable all 30,000 front-line response officers to be trained in firing the electric guns at knife-wielding thugs and other violent suspects.

Ms Smith said: “I am proud that we have one of the few police services around the world that do not regularly carry firearms and I want to keep it that way.

“Everyday the police put themselves in danger to protect us, the public. They deserve our support, so I want to give the police the tools they tell me they need to confront dangerous people.”

Should Suffolk get more Tasers? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail