Norfolk force to get more than 130 new Tasers to help tackle offenders

A Police officer armed with a TASER.

A Police officer armed with a TASER. - Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2010

Frontline police officers in Norfolk are to be equipped with more Tasers in a bid to help them tackle violent and dangerous offenders, it has emerged.

The Home Office has announced Norfolk is to get 132 more Tasers, costing £108, 900 while frontline officers in neighbouring Suffolk will get 68 more of the stun gun devices, costing £56,100 following the government's decision to provide £10m of centrally funded money for the vital equipment.

The decison, which should see officers be given Tasers by 2021, has been welcomed by Andy Symonds, chairman of the Norfolk Police Federation, who insisisted the investment would "save officers from serious injury".

He said: "It gives officers another option when confronted with violent suspects that need to be arrested as safely as possible. My colleagues work in vast swathes of countryside and there nearest back up can be many miles away."

He added: "This extra funding for an additional 132 Tasers will mean that more officers will be able to access a Taser and use their training in order to keep themselves safe and the public.

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"I have seen countless Body Worn Videos of officers confronted with violent suspects who are carrying either a weapon or a knife.

"These implements can and do kill and cause serious injuries. Taser in all of the clips I've seen has been deployed effectively and brought these serious incidents to a safe conclusion for all."

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The decision comes despite comments made by Norfolk's chief constable Simon Bailey in May last year that he did not believe "equipping every single officer with a Taser is the right thing to do", adding "I think there is a balance here and we have got to get it right".

Mr Bailey had been responding to Norfolk's police and crime commissioner Lorne Green who, speaking at the police accountability forum, had said that, in an ideal world, every officer would be equipped with a Taser.

John Apter, chairman of the national Police Federation, said the news was "refreshing" and was pleased Home Secretary Priti Patel appears to be taking officer safety seriously.

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