The number of officers carrying Tasers is going to increase, Durham Constabulary has announced.
The move follows recent calls from the Police Federation, who said that all officers should be equipped with the devices.
Tasers were first introduced in the UK in 2003, with Durham Constabulary issuing them to firearms officers two years later.
The Taser was designed to provide an extra “less lethal” option for police officers in situations where a life or the safety of an individual may be at risk.
It works by firing two small probes, connected to the X26 model used by police, which deliver a series of electrical pulses. These disrupt the neuro-muscular system of the individual.
Ron Hogg, Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “We will not be arming all officers with Tasers even though the Police Federation have asked for it.
“This is being done to improve the safety of our officers and has no relation to crime levels within County Durham and Darlington, which are currently stable. The force uses Tasers less than the national average and this reflects our approach of talking to people and helping them.”
Sergeant Andy Jackson of the Durham Police Federation added: “I fully support the force’s decision on this important issue which shows it is supporting its officers in terms of their personal safety.
“By helping keep officers safe, we can keep the public safe.”
As of March 2015, Durham Constabulary has 103 authorised Taser users (including 43 authorised firearms officers).
An additional 24 response officers are scheduled for initial Taser courses in April and June 2015, with further training courses planned for later in the year.
Source: Durham Constabulary