Nothing to fear over tasers

Specially trained officers at Devon and Cornwall Constabulary give a taser demonstration at its headquarters in Exeter.

There was a buzz being caused down at Devon and Cornwall Constabulary headquarters as trained officers showed off yet another tool helping police fight crime in East Devon.

A special demonstration was held at Middlemoor last week to demonstrate the use of tasers and to reassure the public that there is nothing to fear when it comes to this useful bit of kit.

Super Intendent Sarah Sharpe said: “We use tasers in situations where you need to affect the arrest of an individual causing resistance and a threat to either a police officer or members of the public.

Tasers give police the option to use a non-lethal weapon to subdue suspects instead of resorting to discharging and possibly having to use firearms.

They work by releasing a 50,000 volt charge through electrodes attached to wires, which are released from a cartridge in the gun when fired.

The force currently owns 388 tasers, which have been drawn, aimed and fired 98 times in 2011 and fired on 31 occasions by trained officers.

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This is a fall from the usage of tasers in 2010 where specially trained officers fired tasers on 45 occasions with a total of 280 uses.

In 2010 authorised firearms officers under a taser authority used tasers a total of 50 times - fire them 17 times.

Super intendant Sharpe added: “They are a really good deterrent. When tasers are deployed the first thing the officers can shine a sharp burn of light on the subject and quite often that in itself is sufficient enough for the person to become compliant.

There are 560 officers trained to use tasers including firearms and non firearms officers with approximately 88 tasers routinely carried per shift by these officers.

She said: “Tasers reduce the number of injuries caused to police officers and significantly reduce incidents where full fire arms are deployed.

“This is a non-lethal option that causes minimal injury and can make an individual compliant when officers are having a job arresting them.

“It is just another piece of equipment in a police officer’s tool box and is nothing to be alarmed about.”