West Yorkshire’s PCC confirms bid for some of the ring-fenced funding for Taser equipment for officers
16th January 2020
Mark Burns-Williamson, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for West Yorkshire, and Serious Violence Lead for the National Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), said that he had supported the original call for additional ring fenced funding for the option of more frontline police officers accessing TASER amongst other tactics.
From Monday (13 Jan) Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) in England and Wales are able to bid for a share of £10m ring-fenced funding which has been provided by the Home Office.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “My office will be drawing up a bid and working closely with West Yorkshire Police for some of the ring-fenced monies announced by the Home Office this week.
“I have already been very vocal in my support of the Protect the Protectors campaign and the introduction of subsequent legislation that ensures those attacking or assaulting our police officers and emergency service workers are dealt with robustly which needs to be closely monitored through the criminal justice system in terms of outcomes.
“We need to ensure those that run towards danger in the line of duty to keep us safe have all the tools they need at their disposal to ensure their own and the public’s safety.
“Ultimately it will be the decision of the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, John Robins, around the operational use of TASER, how it is deployed and the training elements of using it. But it is another mechanism to ensure officers feel safe carrying out their frontline duties to protect the public and is proportionate when necessary.
“I will be continuing my conversations with the Chief Constable regarding the use of TASER by officers and ensure that we are taking all reasonable steps to properly train, support and equip them.
“But now the funding has been announced I will be making a bid to ensure we secure our proper share and that we are continuing our work to help our frontline officers in carrying out their roles.”
Chief Constable John Robins added: “Taser is an effective and proven piece of equipment, but it must be used only when necessary, by fully trained officers. In West Yorkshire Police, only those officers who have completed their two year student officer period are eligible for Taser training and then need to be nominated by their Inspector as having shown the correct skills and aptitude. Other checks and safeguards ensure training and standards are maintained while ever an officer carries a Taser.
“I would welcome a further uplift in capacity, which would be by around 20% if we receive a proportionate amount of the available funding, but would also assure the public that an officers first and most effective means of managing a situation will always be verbal communication.”
The application process will involve PCCs outlining how many additional officers they plan to train to use Taser and then bidding via an online platform with their requests being based on the threat and risk in their local area.
The Home Office has said the final funding allocations for forces, which cover 2019/20 and 2020/21, will be announced as soon as February.