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Police sign up for more Taser guns

PUBLISHED: 11:15 14 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:41 03 July 2010

Extra weapons: More Taser guns are being funded for Norfolk police.

Extra weapons: More Taser guns are being funded for Norfolk police.

EXTRA Taser stun guns are to be deployed to the streets of Norfolk - but police have refused to reveal the total number in operation as it could scare the public.

EXTRA Taser stun guns are to be deployed to the streets of Norfolk - but police have refused to reveal the total number in operation as it could scare the public.

Norfolk police has confirmed that is has taken up Home Office funding for 75 extra weapons after the govern-ment announced plans to introduce an extra 6,000 potentially lethal Tasers to the nation's streets.

The force had originally refused to comment on whether it would be accepting the funding but has released the information following a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

However, it would not reveal how many weapons were already in operation in the county - despite accepting there is a strong public interest in the controversial guns.

A statement said: “It may be assumed that the full number of Tasers is permanently deployed on Norfolk's streets. For some sectors of the public this would create anxiety about the use of the weapon amid publicised fears about its potential harmful effects.

“It would be inappropriate to publish exactly how many Tasers are deployed at any one time in order to reduce those fears as this would provide information about operation-al capability to those intent on committing crime, particularly crimes of extreme of serious violence.”

It continues that revealing how many guns are used would increase “fear of crime and fear of policing methods”.

It adds: “Those intent on committing crime… may consider that the numbers of Tasers available to the constabulary presents a decreased risk of them being apprehended by an officer armed with a Taser.

“Conversely they may believe that the numbers of Tasers available to the constabulary would make it necessary to arm themselves.”

Suffolk police recently confirmed it had bought an extra 100 Tasers using the Home Office funding. The exact number in operation is not known.

Other police forces openly state the number of Tasers in operation. Lincolnshire police has 90, 30 of which are used for training purposes, and another 300 have been ordered.

Thousands of extra weapons are being introduced nationally after home secretary Jacqui Smith said more needed to be done to help officers confront dangerous people.

Norfolk police federation, which represents the rank and file, has called for every frontline officer in the county to be armed with a Taser.

However, Amnesty International claims Tasers can kill and they have been introduced “without the necess-ary independent information to establish genuine safety parameters”.

Ian Learmonth, deputy chief constable of Norfolk police, said: “Our priority is to support officers working on the frontline and the Taser is an effective tool designed to defuse high-risk situations and for dealing with violent people.”


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