Hundreds of Staffordshire Police officers are set to be firing new-style ‘double-shot’ Tasers – after bosses rejected the chance to arm more of their bobbies with the weapons.
The Home Office had made funding available for forces to bid for extra Taser officers.
But Staffordshire Police turned down the chance and instead decided to invest in Tasers which can now be fired twice before needing to be reloaded.
The force currently has around 350 specially-trained Taser officers.
Sergeant Phil Jones, chairman of Staffordshire Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said: “National figures show that 90 per cent of emergency workers who are assaulted are police officers and realistically we would like all our officers to have access to a Taser.
“We would also like to push for tougher sentencing for those convicted of assaulting officers who are injured carrying out their duties.
“However, the federation is reassured locally that we have adequate numbers of officers armed with a Taser for the needs of both the force and the community.
“A Taser is an important tool for the safety of officers and front-line staff.”
Latest figures show Tasers were deployed 209 times across the county last year – and fired on 15 occasions. Officers carry Tasers on a voluntary basis.
Deputy Chief Constable Emma Barnett said: “The use of force is always a last resort and the decision to use a Taser is never taken lightly and is deployed on a threat-and-risk basis.
“However, a Taser is an important tactical option for officers when needed and the force’s decision to invest in upgrading the existing Taser equipment from the current single shot to the new advanced X2 double-shot model will offer improved protection for officers and the public they are working to keep safe.
“Officer safety is a priority and assaults on police officers are never acceptable. We need to be able to protect those officers while they carry out their duty and provide welfare and support to our staff who are injured.”
The new Tasers will be delivered over the next 12 months.
Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis said: “We owe it to our police officers to protect them and give them the best equipment possible. I was happy to make the funding available for these advanced devices.”