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Leicestershire Police to equip 12 Special Constables with Tasers

The force can now proceed with plans to offer Taser training spaces to 12 Special Constables, following the British Transport Police and Kent Police who have already taken similar steps.

Leicestershire Police is to offer Taser training to 12 Special Constables (SCs) after the move was backed at a recent meeting of the counties' Police and Crime Panel (PCP).

The development, which will see the force follow the British Transport Police and Kent Police, has been welcomed by the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Rupert Matthews.

He said: "I am pleased we are extending the same protection to those volunteers who meet the necessary experience levels and safety checks to be trained in carrying these devices. Our police volunteers do an incredible job to keep local people safe.

"I have made it clear in my Police and Crime Plan that I will support the Force and its officers to take strong and robust action to tackle violent crime and keep themselves safe. The wider roll-out of Taser is part of that commitment."

The availabiliy of Taser training for this group is a direct result of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, which was passed earlier this year. 

SCs must meet a number of criteria to be eligible. They must have achieved Directed Patrol Status (DPS), completed 12 months service since achieving DPS, and completed 200 hours on duty since achieving DPS.

Moreover, they must hold current personal safety training and first aid qualifications, and meet the required fitness standard. SCs will also be subject to a Professional Standards Department (PSD) check.

Leicestershire Police will impose an additional requirement whereby SCs have to maintain their 200 operational hours before a refresher course every 12 months.

It will also be mandatory for those holding an interest to attend an information evening led by the Force's chief taser instructor. 

In a recent interview with ITV, Kent's Chief Constable Alan Pughsley revealed the catalyst behind the extended rollout in his force.

"Special Constables, certainly in Kent, do everything that my frontline, routine, regular officers, do," he said, adding: "So they should be, and in my view, are, afforded the same operational tools to protect themselves and in turn to protect the public."

Highlighting that these volunteer officers face the "same training", the "same rigour", and the "same scrutiny", CC Pughsley believes potentially violent situations can be de-escalated by the "mere presence" of a Taser.

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