The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has welcomed the start of the process which will see more frontline officers equipped with Taser than ever before.
From today (13 January) Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) in England and Wales will be able to bid for a share of £10m ring-fenced funding which has been provided by the Home Office.
PFEW National Chair John Apter said: “Taser is an essential piece of equipment which keeps our members and public safe. I feel strongly all officers who want to carry it should be able to do so, this is what I have lobbied for and will continue to do so.
“The Home Secretary has acted on what we have said and we very much welcome this new money, and the speed at which it is being made available,” said Mr Apter.
He continued: “In the past Chief Constables and PCCs have had to make tough choices about how and where to spend their budgets but this new dedicated money should allow them to make decisions based solely on what is best for officers and the public.
“We now wait to see if the sum allocated will be adequate when the PCCs submit their requests and would urge the Government to provide additional funding if the original £10m does not cover what forces assess is needed to ensure police officers and their communities are protected.”
Making the announcement the Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The rise in assaults on officers is appalling which is why I am providing funding to equip up to 10,000 more officers with Taser - an important tactical option when facing potentially physically violent situations.”
The application process will involve PCCs outlining how many additional officers they plan to train to use Taser and then bidding via an online platform with their requests being based on the threat and risk in their local area.
The Home Office has said the final funding allocations for forces, which cover 2019/20 and 2020/21, will be announced as soon as February. The Taser announcement comes after a series of Government pledges relating to policing, including a commitment to recruit 20,000 new officers over the next three years; and plans to consult on increasing the maximum sentence for assaulting police officers and other emergency service workers - something the Federation has also been campaigning for.
A new Police Powers and Protection Bill was also announced in the Queen’s Speech which is aimed at providing police with additional powers to protect the public as well as establishing a Police Covenant, ensuring officers and their families get the right emotional and physical support.
Mr Apter concluded: “I have certainly seen a change in attitude towards police officers from this new government and I will work closely with them to ensure that these promises of support become a reality.”