Gloucestershire Police Federation calls for Taser training

Police officer demonstrating the use of a Taser weapon
Image caption Officers would have to justify Taser use, the federation spokeswoman said

Every officer in the county should be trained to use and carry a Taser stun gun, according to The Police Federation in Gloucestershire.

At present fewer than 20% of officers in the force are authorised to use the "less-lethal" weapon.

Chair of the Gloucestershire branch, Tracy de Young, said members told her sometimes just "red-dotting" someone can help defuse the situation.

But opponents say negotiation or restraint should be used first.

Lawyer Sophie Khan, who has represented a number of people who have had Tasers used on them, said it is important to legally establish the "right or wrong" use of the weapon.

"If someone has a weapon or is being very threatening and there is no other way to control them... in that scenario within the guidance it does say you can use a Taser on that individual if they continue to act in an aggressive and violent way.

"Any other time I don't feel there's the need to use Taser - there's always negotiation or restraint," Ms Khan said.

'Less damage'

Tracy de Young said federation members were asking for extra protective equipment at a time when more officers were working on their own.

"When used properly, and following rigorous training, it's less likely to cause permanent damage than perhaps a baton strike or CS spray.

"Anything like that can bring a officer into court... officers would have to justify the use of a Taser just as they do with any force.

"Officers are telling me sometimes the pulling of a Taser and putting the red dot on someone is enough to deescalate what could be a very violent situation.

"They are all telling me they want the use of Taser and want the training," she said.

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