Tasers should be issued to all frontline police, say 90% of officers in poll

The new X2 taser. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The new X2 taser. Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Nine out of 10 police officers want to see all frontline colleagues in their force carrying Tasers while out on patrol, a survey has found.

A poll by West Yorkshire Police Federation found 90% of officers in the force wanted the equipment rolled out to all frontline colleagues, while a separate survey found 86% of members of the public agreed.

It shows a marked rise since a similar survey was carried out by the Metropolitan Police Federation earlier this year, which found 75% wanted to see all officers issued with the stun guns.

Nick Smart, chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said the poll was the first to be carried out since the three deadly terrorist attacks in the UK this year.

"Given the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester and the changing nature of threats faced by police officers nationally this was an important survey and has provided some clear results," he said.

"It is apparent that an overwhelming majority of police officers and the public we serve believe police officers should be routinely carrying a Taser when on patrol.

"And that - while many officers do not want to be routinely armed - there is a distinct desire to increase the number of armed colleagues available."

When asked about carrying guns, two out of three West Yorkshire police officers (65%) wanted to remain unarmed but said they would like to see a significant increase in the number of fully trained firearms officers.

The survey found 86% of officers felt that frontline officers carrying Taser routinely would keep the public safer while 56% of police officers said they would feel safer carrying a firearm.

West Yorkshire Police is the fourth largest force in the country, with around a third of officers taking part in the survey, amounting to more than 1,500.

Mr Smart said the results would help shape the future discussions with the force's senior management team over using Tasers, firearms and both police officer and public safety.

"West Yorkshire Police officers must have the appropriate equipment to keep themselves, their colleagues and the public safe.

"And it is also vital that we have the right number of officers with that equipment available when they are required."