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  1. Frontline capacity triples for West Midlands force. Taser use: 998 officers to be trained up in the West Midlands Date - 7th December 2018 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle 2 Comments England’s second biggest force is facing ‘Big Brother’ data oversight when Taser capacity triples for frontline officers. Public scrutiny panels will pore over a welter of information as a shade under 1,000 West Midlands officers are trained up to use the devices. The additional arming of response units, operations and neighbourhood teams means 1,441 officers will be equipped to tackle a rising tide of violent attacks on a daily basis in the region. The West Midlands’ murder rate reached a 10-year hiatus in the summer and with three weeks to the end of 2018, the homicide total stands at 47 as officers are now confronted by knives and machetes as a commonplace occurrence. Three officers were attacked by members of the public in separate incidents within the space of 24 hours. One attack involved a drunk woman who lashed out after falling asleep in a taxi in Halesowen. Another involved an officer being punched in the face in Brierley Hill and the third, when a detainee spat in custody sergeant’s face in Coventry. West Midlands Police Federation chairman Richard Cooke has already called for all 3,500 frontline officers in the force to have access to Tasers as a matter of routine, claiming their usage brings violent suspects under control in four out of five cases – just by merely being drawn and pointed, without the need to fire. His comments came as assistant chief constable Chris Johnson confirmed an additional 998 officers are to be equipped with Taser; with training already underway. West Midlands PCC David Jamieson said the move to train more officers to carry Taser is both “sensible and proportionate”. He added: “This increase in the number of officers carrying Taser will help them carry out their duty in often dangerous environments, while not undermining the long-standing British tradition of unarmed policing.” The Labour PCC argued that scrutiny of Taser usage is “vital” and promised to ensure that footage recorded by body-worn video cameras during such incidents is monitored closely by special panels made up of members of the public. “We will maintain close oversight of Taser usage ensuring it is used proportionately and fairly,” added Mr Jamieson. Force protocol for Taser usage will in future include every officer that carries the device automatically wearing body worn cameras. In addition, the Taser scrutiny panels will analyse how officers are using them. A PCC spokesman told Police Oracle: “Every time a Taser is drawn it digitally logs all actions – whether the device is arched, red dotted or fired. “It means the data for scrutiny purposes is strong. “And whenever a Taser is fired it spits out chads [pieces of paper] which record which Taser is used and therefore which officer pulled the trigger. “Any officer handed a Taser by the force must undergo a thorough training regime with officers being tested before accredited to use it in the line of duty.” View On Police Oracle

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