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Should Suffolk police arm all its officers with taser guns?

PUBLISHED: 16:57 21 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:32 22 August 2019

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

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

There are no immediate plans to arm every frontline police officer in Suffolk with tasers - despite one force's roll-out of the weapon in response to a "sickening trend" of attacks.

Northamptonshire Chief Constable Nick Adderley said the decision to issue tasers to all officers from his force who want one had not been taken lightly.

He said: "Enough is enough. Every week, I am made aware of more and more sickening attacks on my officers - they are spat at, assaulted on a daily basis, and are being exposed to increasing levels of violence.

"It's time to give all frontline officers the ability to defend themselves and defend members of the public, which involves equipping them with more than a baton, handcuffs and a can of pepper spray.

"This isn't a decision I have taken lightly, but there comes a time when we have to accept that risks to frontline officers have changed dramatically in the past 10 years."

A police officer demonstrating a taser gun Picture: PA WIREA police officer demonstrating a taser gun Picture: PA WIRE

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

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

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable David Cutler said: "The safety of our officers and staff will always be a priority for the constabulary.

"We carefully consider the nature of the threat and the level of risk faced by officers and use this to determine how many we need to carry tasers.

"Tasers are only one part of officer safety that includes other personal protection equipment and specialised training. Our officers, PCSOs and police staff are also supported by armed officers who will deploy to appropriate incidents.

"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."

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 online poll.

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