The Commissioner at a Taser Training session held in 2021
Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews has welcomed support from the counties’ Police and Crime Panel to equip Special Constables with Taser on the streets.
Earlier this year, the government authorised the use of the weapons, which deliver an electric current to temporarily incapacitate a suspect, on the condition the volunteer police officers meet strict training and eligibility criteria.
The move, which followed the passing of the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, is part of a plan to better protect the policing volunteers who face the same risks as warranted officers.
Leicestershire Police has since set out detailed plans to implement the new rules in Leicestershire which have been backed by Mr Matthews.
At a recent meeting of the Police and Crime Panel, members supported the approach and agreed to the robust processes outlined by the Force to ensure candidates are suitable to use the devices.
It means the Force can go ahead with its plans to offer 12 spaces for Special Constables to be Taser trained during this financial year.
Commenting on the proposals, Mr Matthews said: “Special Constables are a crucial part of our frontline policing presence and face the same risks and threats as regular officers. I am pleased we are extending the same protection to those volunteers who meet the necessary experience levels and safety checks to be trained in carrying these devices.
“Our police volunteers do an incredible job to keep local people safe. I have made it clear in my Police and Crime Plan that I will support the Force and its officers to take strong and robust action to tackle violent crime and keep themselves safe. The wider roll-out of Taser is part of that commitment and I welcome the stringent measures being implemented by the Force to ensure only the right candidates are selected before being armed with these tools.”
To be eligible for training, Special Constables must have achieved Directed Patrol Status (DPS) – a stage of professional development when the individual has demonstrated sufficient competence in role, have completed 12 months service since achieving DPS, have completed 200 hours on duty since achieving DPS, be subject to a Professional Standards Department (PSD) check, hold current personal safety training and first aid qualifications, and have attained the required fitness standard.
Leicestershire Police will impose an additional requirement for Special Constables to have maintained their 200 operational hours before their refresher course every 12 months. It will also be mandatory for all interested Special Constables to attend an information evening led by the Force’s chief taser instructor.
The Force is proposing to trial two types of training courses over the next 12 months, with one Taser course specifically for Specials due to take place in the Autumn and a regular course in the Autumn/Winter. Feedback will be used to determine the best training option for future recruits.
Mr Matthews has made it clear in his Police and Crime Plan he supports police volunteering in all its forms and has asked the Chief Constable to revitalise the spirit of volunteering throughout Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland’s communities, which includes increasing the number of Special Constables.
Mr Matthews added: “I am enormously proud of the work our Specials do to support my mission to make Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland safer and I’m glad the law now recognises the exceptional professionalism they bring to their duties.”
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Tuesday 4th October 2022