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Eddzz!!

Taser for probationers

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Eddzz!!

I was thinking the other day... In my force we are often single crewed in the daylight hours, only pairing up after 2200hrs. I'm sent to a variety of jobs, some have the potential to become volatile/dangerous and of personal risk to myself - especially domestics when, quite often, the involved parties are unknown entities. We are lucky if one or two officers per rota carry taser and, where I work, that wouldn't be much good when the nearest back-up could be up to half an hour away...   I'm currently a year into my probationer and in my force TASER is not a standard piece of issued kit. Probationers aren't permitted to carry taser and only once you're out of your probationer can you express an interest to carry one.  Is this just my force? I'm interested to know what it is like in other force areas. I can't think of a particularly good reason as to why a probationer couldn't be trained to carry taser when we are entrusted with CAPTOR and a baton...

 

 

Edited by Eddzz!!

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SimonT

I'm a taser officer and I have to be honest I'm OK with probationers not carrying. I'm not saying it's impossible, there are plenty who have previous experience, specials, ex army etc that could lead to them being recommended or recognised. 

But carrying taser is not the same as baton or spray. The use of a taser is scrutinised like no other device save firearms.. It is rife with hazards, through use, not use etc. You only need to look at the officer just charged with assault for a recent tasering. 

Its not just policing, its using your experience to achieve the goal while avoiding the many dangers the job, courts, ipcc etc can throw at you 

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Cathedral Bobby

Personally would I prefer to be hit with an effective disabling baton blow or a Taser. Well probably the later because although painful and there is a very small risk of death, compared to having a broken bone or even possible death from a wrongly aimed blow from a baton, in my humble opinion it is the less damaging option. I simply believe the reason not every officer is equipped with Taser is cost. Extra four or five days off the streets for training (although I am sure this would be shortened for sure if every officer was equipped, similar with a sidearm), plus the cost per unit circa £500-£600 plus cartridges at perhaps £50 a pop. I really think it comes down to this. That's a cost of £6-£7 million per 10,000 officers for kit and possibly greater than this for training. If you suddenly have to train nationally 50,000 frontline officers that's £75 to £80 million to find when we all know they are looking for cuts.

You hit someone with a baton and cause serious injury you're likely to be investigated anyhow, so I tend to think it is more about the money. Would be cheaper to issue sidearms I suspect. But for me the basis of issuing whatever equipment is risk. And risk to an officers life overrides the risk of disciplinary, bad press or financial ticking off for the chief.

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Mac7

I'm not a taser trained officer (yet) but I do have a good few years under my belt.

Personally - I can't see the problem with probationers having taser. After all it is a lower level of force than a baton. Forces could start to include it in initial training to phase in a complete roll to all officers.

Unfortunately you will find that there is a culture within the police that you must first earn your stripes before you be considered for certain courses or "awarded" certain kit. Whilst this is true for some things, it's a culture that we could do with moving away from.

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Career_SC

The NPCC met yesterday and discussed the current policy for probationers and specials not being allowed to train in TASER. No idea of the outcome yet. Standby....

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Burnsy2023
1 hour ago, Career_SC said:

The NPCC met yesterday and discussed the current policy for probationers and specials not being allowed to train in TASER. No idea of the outcome yet. Standby....

It's worth noting that originally Specials weren't going to be considered as part of that NPCC meeting and it was reviewing probationers only. That wasn't until it was picked up by Ian Miller of CoLP (seconded to CoP) and raised it with CC Simon Cole and CC Dave Jones.

Edited by Burnsy2023
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Growley

Personally, I think we should be training our officers well enough and trusting them to carry anything they need to do their job.

Without a doubt, there is significant scrutiny attached to taser, but 20 something years ago there was the same stigma attached to CS spray. Some officers will no doubt fall foul of this, but I don't think leaving them ill-equipped is a suitable alternate.

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Cathedral Bobby
1 hour ago, Career_SC said:

The NPCC press release is out and makes for encouraging reading.

It's a start but I would have liked to have seen an affirmation that all frontline officers would be trained and equipped. For me Taser provides a greater visible deterrent than a baton but causes less injury if used. We all know that for a baton to be effective you need to hit someone so hard you probably will break bone. There is, as there was with CS when we were first issued that, preconception that Taser is something special and requires a far greater skill set. It is not a lethal weapon, in fact less so than a baton so too much fuss. As I said in an earlier post the biggest issue, although it won't be admitted, is cost.

 

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Beaker
It's worth noting that originally Specials weren't going to be considered as part of that NPCC meeting and it was reviewing probationers only. That wasn't until it was picked up by Ian Miller of CoLP (seconded to CoP) and raised it with CC Simon Cole and CC Dave Jones.

As and SC I don't think many of us would be able to put in the hours to keep up any certifications for TASER. I like the idea of having another tool in the box, but I'd think it better that every regular who wants one gets one, then the SCs are considered depending on hours and IP status. That's if there is even enough budget to allow for it.

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Reece

I'm all for considering this and having the appropriate tools for the job, but as a special myself and with the recent press of officers being prosecuted for using tasers I'm not sure I'd ever feel comfortable carrying one. Especially as we don't have a federation to support us at all.

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Mac7

Cathedral Bobby I think you're absolutely right - it boils down to cost.

I was once told on good authority that it would be cheaper to train and issue everyone (in my force) with a glock than a taser.

I'm not sure it should be rolled out to Specials.

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Cathedral Bobby
31 minutes ago, Mac7 said:

I'm not sure it should be rolled out to Specials.

I think we seem to agree on a number of things. Where we slightly differ is regarding specials. We need to move to making decisions based on risk. Not whether someone is full time or part time, salaried or volunteer, but on risk faced by the officer and the kinds of duties they do. The highest risk I see are those officers who work response. Often first on seen, provided with little information when dispatched, and never knowing what they are walking in to. So whether you're a reg or a special working response the risks are the same. I would also say to specials who are concerned about litigation you do have some legal protection/representation and ultimately better facing a disciplinary action than being dead or permanently disabled. As I said, it's a question of risk.

Edited by Cathedral Bobby
spelling, grammar
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Beaker
3 minutes ago, Cathedral Bobby said:

I would also say to specials who are concerned about litigation you do have some legal protection/representation and ultimately better facing a disciplinary action than being dead or permanently disabled. As I said, it's a question of risk.

My Union at word (CWU) actually covers me for any legal issues.  Confirmed with them they would cover me for any SC related activity, and they said they would just put me in contact with a relevant solicitor.

I'm more concerned about safety of myself and any regs working alongside me.  I'm also not inclined to Blue Light drive as due to hours worked I'll just not be of the same readiness and familiarity. 

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Cathedral Bobby
13 minutes ago, Beaker said:

I'm more concerned about safety of myself and any regs working alongside me.  I'm also not inclined to Blue Light drive as due to hours worked I'll just not be of the same readiness and familiarity. 

And Beaker I fully appreciate your view in your current position, but with training, support, experience and time in the service those things can change and be managed. Having the choice to opt out is one thing, but denying others who are in a different position, is something else.

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