Tyne & Wear

Durham Police increasing number of Taser officers

A policeman demonstrates a Taser Image copyright Rui Vieira/PA Wire
Image caption Durham Police plan to increase the number of officers who carry the X26 Taser stun gun

The number of police officers who carry Tasers while on duty in Durham could more than double, the force says.

About eight officers on duty at any one time currently carry the stun guns, but Durham Police hopes to increase that to 18 by the end of the year.

This follows recent calls from the Police Federation that all officers should be equipped with the devices.

Durham's Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg said it was a safety move and not a reflection on crime levels.

Electrical pulses

He said: "We will not be arming all officers with Tasers even though the Police Federation have asked for it.

"This is being done to improve the safety of our officers and has no relation to crime levels within County Durham and Darlington, which are currently stable.

"The force uses Tasers less than the national average and this reflects our approach of talking to people and helping them."

The police-issue X26 model works by firing two small probes which deliver a series of electrical pulses into a person, disrupting their neuro-muscular system.

Durham currently has 103 authorised Taser users (including 43 authorised firearms officers) and an additional 24 response officers are scheduled for initial Taser courses in April and June.

There are further training courses planned for later in the year.

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