THE majority of police officers in Essex believe more of their colleagues should be carrying a Taser, a survey has revealed.
The poll, by Essex Police Federation, showed that 83 per cent of officers surveyed felt that all Essex Police officers should be issued with the stun guns while on duty.
More than 700 Essex Police officers responded to the survey on the use of Tasers and firearms, which ran for three weeks across April and May.
Currently about 70 officers across the force are trained to use the stun guns, which can help protect them against criminals intent on using weapons.
Following calls from the Essex Police Federation, 92 more officers will undergo the training, including 23 dog handlers. A further 41 officers are due to follow suit after a review.
As well as indicating that more officers should carry a Taser, the survey results show that only eight per cent of officers feel there are currently an “adequate” number of gun-carrying officers in the county.
Results also showed that a third of respondents believed that there “should be more specialist firearms officers in Essex but not all officers should be routinely armed.”
Steve Taylor, chairman of Essex Police Federation, said the results would help shape the association’s future discussions with Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh and Roger Hirst, Essex’s police and crime commissioner, over Tasers, firearms and both officer and public safety. He said: “The number of colleagues looking to increase the availability of Tasers is a reflection of the value officers place in their ability to assist resolving situations as safely as possible for our communities. The number prepared to have access to firearms is a reflection of the danger colleagues face.”
Over the last year in Essex, Tasers were drawn 207 times, however on 77 per cent of the occasions the weapon was drawn, it was not used.