Wales

Tasers for front-line police officers 'a mistake'

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Media caption Alun Michael says the decision must be made by a chief constable

Offering Tasers to all front-line police officers would be a mistake, a Welsh police and crime commissioner said.

Christopher Salmon is opposed to the proposal by Steve White, the head of the Police Federation.

Mr White argues the devices can protect officers against "dangerous people".

But Dyfed-Powys commissioner Mr Salmon said: "Routine arming with Tasers would be a mistake and counter to the traditions of British policing."

The commissioner for South Wales Police, Alun Michael, said he is not against the use of Tasers but added: "How they are deployed is a matter for local decision.

"It should be the chief constable, accountable to the police and crime commissioner, to decide how and where they're used and under what requirements."

Tasers were introduced into British policing in 2003 as a non-lethal alternative for firearms officers facing potentially dangerous suspects.

Officers are required to take a training course before being allowed to use a Taser and they are told only to deploy them when threatened with violence.

In 2013, the devices were deployed 10,380 times across England and Wales and there were 154 complaints about their use.

There have been a number of deaths related to the use of the stun guns.

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