York & North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire Police chief surveying public over Tasers

Police Taser Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The survey asks whether all North Yorkshire Police officers should carry a Taser

A police force's officers could routinely be armed with Tasers if the idea is backed by the public.

Julia Mulligan, the police, fire and crime commissioner for North Yorkshire, is to launch a consultation on the plans across the county.

She said the initial scheme would cost about £900,000, plus £200,00 a year for ongoing training and upgrades.

Deputy Chief Constable Phil Cain said training plans were "dynamic and reviewed".

Ms Mulligan said the final decision on deployment of Tasers to officers across the force rested with the Chief Constable Lisa Winward.

But the commissioner added: "We do need to understand whether that would affect the relationship the public have with their police.

"It's classed as a non-lethal weapon, so when you get fired on it has a profound impact on you and incapacitates you and I think by all accounts it's extremely painful.

"So it is not something to be taken lightly or rushed into.

"It is the chief constable's decision, [arming with Tasers] it's not mine, but it's my job to find out what the public think about these sort of things."

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption A decision on the deployment of Tasers to frontline officers rests with the force's chief constable

Tasers, which fire two small dart-like electrodes before delivering a high-voltage shock to temporarily disable a suspect, were first introduced by forces in 2003.

Mr Cain said: "We welcome this opportunity for members of the public to provide their views about Taser.

"It's one of a number of tactical options available to officers when dealing with an incident with the potential for conflict, and often just the sight of the Taser being drawn, but not discharged, is enough to calm a situation and prevent violence escalating."

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