Northamptonshire Police to arm every officer with a Taser after ‘sickening’ attacks

Written by on 21/08/2019

Northamptonshire Police will arm every frontline officer with a Taser in response to a “sickening trend” of attacks on staff.

Chief constable Nick Adderley said his decision was not “taken lightly” but that officers had suffered “life-changing injuries”.

There were 1,004 frontline officers in the Northamptonshire force as of March this year, according to a parliamentary briefing.

“Enough is enough,” Mr Adderley said.

Speaking to Sky News, he added: “We’ve had officers with their ears torn off and bitten off, we’ve had officers with their fingers bitten off, life-changing injuries.

“These are not superficial injuries, these are life-changing injuries, and it’s time for me as an employer to react.

“They deserve to feel protected and I’m going to protect them.”

The chief constable wrote on Twitter on Monday that he would make the announcement because he was “sickened and shocked by the volume and severity of assaults on my staff”.

In a second follow-up tweet he wrote: “Arming every frontline police officer with a Taser is not a decision I have taken lightly but the risks to officers has changed dramatically and I have to respond accordingly.

“Our officers have a right to feel safe, supported and adequately equipped to tackle this sickening trend.”

It is up to each individual police force to decide whether or not to issue Tasers, but Police Federation of England and Wales national chairman John Apter said: “We should ensure every officer who wants to carry a Taser can do so.”

The decision by Northamptonshire Police comes a year after Mr Adderley told Sky News that every police officer in the UK will be armed with a Taser within three years due to “worrying levels of violence”.

He had previously called for Tasers to be standard issue within three years, but said he was “not prepared to wait” and that Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold was “fully supportive”.

Mr Adderley added it will take 18 months to train and equip the officers and cost around £220,000.

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

PC Stuart Outten was attacked with a machete in Leyton, east London, earlier this month and used a Taser despite being stabbed in the head.

West Midlands PC Gareth Phillips was run over with his patrol car in Birmingham earlier in August.

Sky News revealed last year that Police had fired Tasers at children as young as 13, a 77-year-old pensioner and dozens of animals between January 2016 and November 2018.

(c) Sky News 2019: Northamptonshire Police to arm every officer with a Taser after ‘sickening’ attacks

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