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College introduces Taser training option for officers with CVD

The College of Policing has established a new Taser training and assessment process allowing officers with Colour Vision Deficiency (CVD) to apply to carry a Taser.

Officers with CVD whose vision falls below national standards were previously excluded from Taser training. Now they will given enhanced training in Taser use and be assessed in using the device’s fixed sights and laser sight.

The College announced in December last year it was reviewing its policy following the announcement that forces were to expand their use of Taser. 

In August, the Home Office approved the new Taser 7, which utilises a green laser and is suitable for officers with certain types of CVD.

CVD affects one in 12 men and one in 200 women.

The Police Federation challenged the college on their previous position, and said it was not “fair, valid or reliable”, and argued it was putting officers at risk of being assaulted on duty.

Steve Hartshorn, PFEW Firearms and Taser lead, called the move an “important step”.

“My colleagues with CVD face the same dangers as those without it. Denying them the opportunity to carry this essential piece of equipment was putting both their lives and the public’s lives at risk,” he said.

“Taser is an extremely effective means of dealing with the many dangerous situations that our officers face on the streets.

“It is a less lethal option in comparison to conventional firearms. In 85 per cent of cases, simply drawing the Taser from its holster de-escalates many situations safely, preventing a physical interaction.

“The College’s revised process will be reviewed over time to ensure it remains current and fit for purpose. PFEW - via our network of local Federation reps - will be involved in that process.”

The College said they have “worked with the Home Office, the NPCC lead for less lethal weapons and the relevant medical bodies to implement a training based solution that meets the high standards set required in terms of the officers who are authorised to carry Taser”.

At the time Police Oracle heard from a Metropolitan Police officer who was told he was unable to undergo Taser training due to what he described as his very minor CVD.

He had difficulty differentiating between different shades of red and said it was “ridiculous” that he was denied the opportunity to carry a Taser as he had no trouble seeing the red dot.

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