A move by the College of Policing to allow officers with Colour Vision Deficiency (CVD) to apply for Taser training has been welcomed by Gwent Police Federation chair Steve Thorpe.
Steve says it’s an important step forward for officers with CVD.
“Taser is an important piece of a police officer’s kit and it’s an effective way of dealing with dangerous situations,” says Steve, “In the majority of cases, just drawing them out of a holster can de-escalate the situation.
“Our colleagues with CVD will face the same dangers in their line of duty as other officers, and to deny them the opportunity to carry Taser is putting them at a disadvantage.
“This decision by the College of Policing is a step forward for those officers both for their protection and that of the public.
“It’s important that where officers want the option to use Taser they are given the training, equipment and support they need.”
The College of Policing is establishing a new training and assessment process which means officers with CVD - who were previously excluded from Taser training - will now be assessed using a Taser fixed sight.
It follows successful lobbying by the Federation which had challenged the College over its original CVD Taser training standards on the grounds they were unfair and discriminatory. Fed reps argued it was putting officers at risk of being assaulted on duty.
Steve Hartshorn, firearms and Taser lead for the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), said: “The Federation has been involved in actively challenging the College of Policing’s previous position. This was not fair, valid or reliable, and we have been seeking a positive resolution.
“The new training and assessment process will allow officers with CVD to apply for Taser training and to be deployed operationally if successful.
“The college’s revised process will be reviewed over time to ensure it remains current and fit for purpose. PFEW - via its network of local Federation reps - will be involved in that process.”
In August, the Home Office also approved the new Taser 7, which uses a green laser and is suitable for officers with certain types of CVD - which affects one in 12 men and one in 200 women.