More police to be allowed to use Tasers?

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MORE police officers will be able to carry and use Tasers from next year if approval is given by the States.

Last year Members endorsed a decision of the then Home Affairs Minister Len Norman to extend deployment of the weapons within the force for a one-year trial period.

It was agreed that the minister would report back on certain issues, such as the number of times the weapons were deployed and whether they had been used on certain groups, including under-18s, people with mental ill health or ethnic minorities.

Previously, only firearms officers could carry Tasers and were only allowed to use them after obtaining authorisation from senior officers.

However, the trial period allowed officers who have passed a UK-standard course to be equipped with the ‘less lethal’ weapons and to use them without seeking permission first.

Home Affairs Minister Gregory Guida has now lodged a proposition calling for a full endorsement of Taser usage subject to these guidelines.

The report accompanying his proposals admitted that the trial period was for only eight months and not the full year.

‘Due to the need to deliver required training, and implement new standard operating procedures in relation to the use of Taser, the trial period commenced on 1 March 2021,’ Deputy Guida said in his proposition.

‘It is acknowledged that the amendment to [the previous proposition] specified a one-year trial period.

‘However, it also stipulated that the new arrangements for Taser deployment could not continue beyond one year without the prior approval of the States Assembly.’

The report on the trial says that Tasers were deployed 22 times and fired three times, while on seven occasions the weapons were drawn against a person ‘undergoing a mental-health crisis or episode’.

Deputy Guida added: ‘The minister has absolute confidence that extending the arrangements that have been in place since March 2021 will not damage the excellent relationship between our police force and the community that they serve.

‘It will, however, ensure our police force have the correct tools to do their job and keep us all safe.’

The proposition is scheduled to be debated on 8 February.

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