Access to Taser needs to improve, say Gloucestershire Police officers, with 82% wanting the kit to be made available to them every time they go out on shift.

However, only 35% of the 260 Gloucestershire Police Federation members who responded to the Police Federation of England and Wales survey, and for whom the use of Taser would be appropriate, said that they had this level of access.

Most Gloucestershire officers (58%) would also be prepared to carry a gun on duty.

The survey also revealed that 8% of Gloucestershire officers (for whom it is applicable to their role), currently had access to Body Worn Video at all times whilst on duty – 82% said they wanted to have it available for every shift.

Nationally across England and Wales just 22% of officers have access to Taser at all times on duty.

The PFEW said that figure needs to be higher.

It argues that the non-lethal weapon should be made part of officers’ everyday equipment as it affords them better protection against assaults.

PFEW figures show that just drawing Taser can be enough to prevent attacks on officers, due to the strong deterrent it provides.

PFEW Vice Chair Che Donald said the Gloucestershire results reflected the views of officers across the country.

“Nationally, 75% of officers to whom Taser would be appropriate want better access to it,” he said.

“While more than half of officers have said their life has been put in serious danger on the frontline.”

“So, it’s no surprise that most officers who took part in this survey said they want access to Taser at all times.

“It is imperative that officers are afforded the best possible training and equipment to keep themselves safe and Taser is an extremely effective means of dealing with the many dangerous situations that officers often face and it is, of course, a less lethal option than more conventional firearms.

“In 80% of cases where Taser is drawn, it is not fired as the deterrent is enough, which helps protect communities as well as protecting officers from assaults.”

He also called on forces to ensure officer safety was put ahead of budget concerns.

“While there are many forces supportive of wider roll out, owing to financial constraints they are unable to,” he said.

“The protection of both our officers and the public should never be compromised because forces can’t afford to keep them safe.”

Getting better access to Taser and other vital safety equipment is part of the PFEW’s Protect the Protector’s Campaign.

To view the Gloucestershire Police Federation survey results visit:

http://www.polfed.org/documents/Gloucestershire%20Routine%20arming%20report%20%20(not%20protectively%20marked)%20-%2012-04-18-%20v.1.pdf