British Transport Police have become the first force in the UK to arm volunteer officers with Tasers.
It comes after the Home Secretary unveiled plans last week to give special constables the power to use the weapons, which temporarily incapacitate a person by delivering an electric current through two small barbed darts.
From Friday, some volunteer British Transport Police officers carry Tasers while on duty across England and Wales.
The first cohort of 22 completed a three-day course in the use of the devices – the same training that regular officers receive.
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Special Chief Officer Ben Clifford said the force’s special constables “are exposed to exactly the same risks as regular officers”, such as terrorism, public safety and public order offences.
He said: ‘Allowing them to carry the device is a positive step both in recognizing the skills and competence of our part-time volunteer officers and further reinforces our commitment to ensuring the railway is a safe environment for passengers and railway workers.
“We routinely deal with incidents at considerable distance from backup in remote locations, and the Taser holds a vital place in protecting the public and officers as a less lethal device.”
The British Transport Police employs 270 volunteer officers, who are deployed alongside regular officers and have the same powers.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was ‘very proudly pro-police’ as she announced the decision to equip special constables with electroshock weapons, if authorized by their senior officers, during a speech given at the annual conference of the Police Federation in Manchester last Tuesday.
Amnesty International UK called the decision “dangerous” and said it would lead to “more cases of abuse, serious injuries and deaths from Tasers”.
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This notice was published: 2022-05-27 23:15:00