Manchester

Greater Manchester Police to double number of Taser officers

Police officer using a Taser Image copyright PA
Image caption The chief constable said a Taser being present could "diffuse a threatening situation"

Greater Manchester Police is to double the number of officers trained to use Tasers in response to the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London.

The force will equip 1,100 of its 6,300 front-line officers with the stun devices to "better protect the public", Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said.

He said the threat level officers were facing was "significant" and so was "necessary to increase the number authorised to carry Tasers".

The move will cost GMP about £1m.

The chief constable said the move would "better equip officers to respond to the increasing threat of terrorism and serious crime" as "having a Taser officer present can diffuse a threatening situation without them actually having to use it".

'Not taken lightly'

In the first quarter of 2017, the force's officers fired a Taser 39 times and the red dot, where the device is aimed but not fired, was used on 69 occasions.

Mr Hopkins said that represented a "proportionate response" and showed that "just drawing it calms people down".

He added that the move was "not a decision taken lightly" and had been supported by both Greater Manchester Police Federation and Greater Manchester's mayor.

Federation chairman Ian Hanson said allowing more officers to use the devices "goes a long way to ensuring that they can continue to protect our communities whilst keeping themselves safe at the same time".

He added that recent events "have demonstrated that we make big asks of police officers" and it was "entirely appropriate" that officers had the right support.

The 540 officers currently trained to use the device are being issued with new Tasers and given a refresher course, before the additional officers are trained.

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