HAMPSHIRE’S police chiefs will meet today over plans to arm more officers with tasers.
The talks follow fresh calls from the chairman of Hampshire Police Federation to arm officers, after two incidents where police were allegedly assaulted in recent days.
John Apter has called on Chief Constable Andy Marsh to equip more officers with tasers due to the increasing “extreme levels of violence” against officers, and the cut in police numbers.
Mr Marsh revealed he wanted to equip more officers with tasers after being appointed last year, while Mr Hayes has set aside £380,000 for that purpose.
Tasers are described as “less lethal” weapons in a situation where once a firearm may have been used to deal with a violent or life-threatening situation.
It fires needle-tip darts, attached to wires that carry an electric charge, into offenders to temporarily paralyse them.
Today Mr Marsh and Mr Hayes will meet to talk about the ongoing review being carried out into the potential use of the weapons.
Speaking after two alleged assaults on officers, in Winchester and Havant, on Friday, Mr Apter said: “Officers need better protection, and they deserve more protection.
“If somebody is offering extreme levels of violence they need to understand that the police will respond in a proportionate way, and that may be employing the taser device.
“So if they are not offering extreme actions of violence then they have nothing to fear.
“We’re seeing a significant reduction in police officer numbers and because of that police officers may find themselves in positions where they are covering a much wider area geographically and with far fewer officers, so they need to have the protection.”
He said a survey of police federation members had revealed that 87 per cent wanted more access to tasers.
In the past five years there have been almost 5,000 assaults on officers across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight – 1,200 of which took place since April last year.