Sussex Police are planning to introduce Taser to a wider range of specialist officers over the next few months.
Around 160 extra officers from local response and support teams, about 6% of the total number in Sussex, will receive training later this year, according to a press release from the police.
Taser – described on Wikipedia as an electroshock weapon that uses electrical current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles – has been in use by Sussex firearms officers for some years but use was previously restricted to them.
Elsewhere, it has been shown to reduce the levels of force used by officers when dealing with violent or threatening situations, avoiding, for example, the use of a baton and captor spray. It also means that there will be fewer incidents that need to be attended by fully armed officers.
Chief Superintendent Paul Morrison, head of Operations for Sussex Police, said: “Sussex Police was one of the small number of forces that have previously restricted the use of Taser to specialist firearms officers.
“Experience, both locally and nationally, has shown that it can act as a deterrent to the escalation of violence. Nearly 70% of incidents where there is a possibility of using Taser, end without it being discharged.
“We would only deploy Taser to an incident where there was a real threat of violence. In many cases Taser has been shown to have a deterrent effect and reduces the levels of force an officer has had to use such as using a baton or captor spray.
“Sussex Police has previously restricted the use of Taser to firearms officers. By extending its use to a small number of highly trained local officers, we will be able to reduce the number of times fully armed officers are deployed on our streets.
“You will not be seeing Taser in day-to-day use by officers or PCSOs undertaking normal patrol activities in Sussex.”