November 27th, 2011

Forked tongues

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So the new Met Chief, Hogan-Howe, is considering upping the number of Taser-trained officers in London. This was brought to the fore last week when four officers were stabbed. He says he wants a Taser available in every police car. That’s more than we have and we’ve had them since they were first authorised in the UK.

The usual subjects are lining up to criticise the fact that the police might be able to better protect themselves, and others. Amnesty International said: “There are instances when Tasers can be an effective weapon. However, such incidences are rare. There are more than 2,000 Met police officers who are already able to use Tasers, so it’s not clear why these officers weren’t called upon this Saturday.”

I suggest someone from Amnesty sticks on a  blue uniform and works the streets of the UK for a while to see just how rare instances are where Taser can be an effective weapon. Amnesty clearly have absolutely no idea how quickly a dangerous situation can develop nor how long it takes to get one of those ‘2,000’ Tasers to an incident. I have no idea how many Met officers are trained to use Taser but someone in Amnesty needs a simple maths lesson.

If there are 2,000 officers and the Met work a 5-shift pattern, that means that on average there are 400 officers available, given that 800 will be on rest days and 800 will be on other shifts. Then factor in those who are training and not available, those on annual leave and sick, and those who are suspended from using it because they have used it and are being investigated for it. Probably something less than 400 officers, to cover the whole area, and be there within the minute or two they’d have been of use. I think Amnesty need a reality check. Still, I don’t suppose sitting on your arse in a comfy office criticising the old bill gives you much real-world experience.

London Assembly member Dee Doocey, has said that equipping more officers with Taser “would do irreparable damage to the reputation of our unarmed police service.” The strange thing is that this doesn’t seem to be borne out in the other forces around the country. I can’t say we’ve taken many calls from people in my force area wringing their hands at the loss of our Dixon of Dock Green-esque reputation since we got all tooled up.

I don’t suppose hard facts and knowledge make for good quotes though.

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