Met Chief Rules out Tasers for All Police Despite Thousands of Attacks on Officers

Police
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Scotland Yard chief Cressida Dick has ruled out issuing tasers to all London Metropolitan officers despite calls for better police protection after a series of violent attacks on officers.

In 2017/18, there were over 26,000 assaults on police officers in England and Wales, of which London’s Metropolitan Police Service suffered the highest number of assaults at 3,975. Last month, three police officers  across England were violently attacked in the line of duty in the space of one week, including one fatally, leading to calls for Britain’s traditionally unarmed officers to be given tasers.

LBC Radio host Nick Ferrari, who campaigns for all frontline officers to be armed with tasers, noted that Northamptonshire police will arm all officers with tasers whilst Kent and Durham are planning to offer tasers to every officer and Thames Valley Police is also expected to do so, as well.

Asking the most senior officer heading the largest force in the UK whether she would follow suit, Commissioner Dick told Mr Ferrari that while the number of trained taser officers has increased in recent years and will rise again, she ruled out arming all officers under her jurisdiction.

“London is, I think, quite different. I don’t want to comment on what my colleagues have done and why,” she said, and went on to extol the virtues of other defensive accessories, saying:  “We are putting new batons on the street that the officers prefer and work better, we’re putting Pava spray out we’re putting spit guards out.”

Questioning the practicality of a night stick, which would still require some proximity to an assailant, the radio show host asked: “If a guy’s got a sword, you’re still better with a taser, aren’t you Commissioner?”

With there being have been a number of sword attacks in London in recent years, Dame Cressida Dick claimed that a baton could be as useful as a taser “depending on the circumstances”.

Dick continued: “I don’t think that right now that is either practicable in the short and medium-term, or necessary… About 20 per cent of my people have said in a survey they don’t really want to carry Taser, thank you very much.”

“It is a very powerful bit of kit, it is also potentially a very dangerous bit of kit. You’ve got to be a really good decision-maker, you’ve got to be really fit,” she added, implying there are members of her force who may not be “really good decision-makers” or “really fit” and thus may not be suitable to carrying the weapon.

Last year, London’s first female police commissioner planned to ban frontline policemen from using spit guards during arrests, which prevents violent suspects from spitting and biting officers, despite them being endorsed by the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers. Commissioner Dick eventually backed down following a consultation.

The Met has come under criticism in recent years under Dick’s commissionership and the leadership of London’s left-wing mayor, Sadiq Khan, with the force’s increased focus on hate crime whilst real crime continues to rise.

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