A change in legislation allowing police officers to carry Taser in court means they will be better able to protect themselves, court staff and members of the public, says Gwent Police Federation chair Steve Thorpe.
Steve was commenting after the Lord Chief Justice amended the Criminal Practice Direction which, subject to local policy, will mean officers will no longer have to remove the devices when in court giving evidence, delivering exhibits or attending on other routine business.
“This is good news for our members. It was not right that they had to take off their Taser and leave them in storage when they went into court,” says Steve Thorpe, chair of Gwent Police Federation.
“With access to Taser, police officers will be able to protect themselves if there is an incident in court but also protect the public and court staff.”
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) had gathered evidence from front-line officers highlighting the difficulties they faced, including lack of secure storage facilities, when having to remove and store Taser before being allowed into court.
Steve Hartshorn, firearms and Taser lead for PFEW, thanked Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi, who is the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for less lethal weapons, NPCC Taser adviser Inspector Andy Harding and the team that worked hard for many years to secure a change in the law.
“We would also like to thank Federation members who took the time to supply evidence to support the successful outcome. It has been very frustrating for my colleagues whose jobs have been impeded at times because of this,” he said.
“This much welcomed and long-overdue decision means they can better protect themselves, the courts’ staff and the public if faced with violence or threats of violence and we appreciate the judiciary and senior judges for listening to the concerns raised.”