The force said it will introduce Taser to a wider range of specialist officers over the next few months. Around 160 extra officers from local response and support teams, about 6 per cent of the total number in Sussex, will receive training later this year.
Taser has been in use by Sussex firearms officers for some years. Sussex Police had previously restricted the use of Taser to authorised firearms officers, but will now join other UK forces in introducing it to a small number of specialist officers.
Elsewhere, it has been shown to reduce the levels of force used by officers when dealing with violent or threatening situations, avoiding, for example, the use of a baton and captor spray. It also means that there will be fewer incidents that need to be attended by fully armed officers.
Chief Superintendent Paul Morrison, head of operations for Sussex Police, said: “Sussex Police was one of the small number of forces that have previously restricted the use of Taser to specialist firearms officers. Experience, both locally and nationally, has shown that it can act as a deterrent to the escalation of violence. Nearly 70% of incidents where there is a possibility of using Taser, end without it being discharged.”
“We would only deploy Taser to an incident where there was a real threat of violence. In many cases Taser has been shown to have a deterrent effect and reduces the levels of force an officer has had to use such as using a baton or captor spray.
“Sussex Police has previously restricted the use of Taser to firearms officers. By extending its use to a small number of highly trained local officers, we will be able to reduce the number of times fully armed officers are deployed on our streets.
“You will not be seeing Taser in day-to-day use by officers or PCSOs undertaking normal patrol activities in Sussex.”