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Police: Stun Guns

Volume 463: debated on Monday 23 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will increase the number of police forces in the UK which are trained and equipped to use Taser stun guns; and if she will make a statement. (152025)

Taser has been available to all Authorised Firearms Officers in England and Wales since September 2004 as a less lethal alternative for use in situations where a firearms authority has been granted in accordance with criteria laid down in the Association of Chief Police Officers Manual of Guidance on Police Use of Firearms.

From 20 July 2007 Chief Officers throughout England and Wales have been able to deploy Taser for use by Authorised Firearms Officers in operations or incidents where the criteria for the authorisation to issue firearms does not apply, but where officers are facing violence or threats of violence of such severity that they would need to use force to protect the public, themselves and/or the subject(s) of their action.

In addition, a 12 month trial of the deployment of Taser by specially trained units who are not firearms officers in similarly violent circumstances requiring conflict management will commence on 1 September 2007 in the following 10 forces in England and Wales: Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Gwent, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, Metropolitan Police Service, Northamptonshire, Northumbria, North Wales and West Yorkshire.