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PFNI Fed Chair: “tasers should be issued as standard”

It follows an incident last night where an officer was slashed on the neck.

The PFNI Fed Chair has renewed calls for tasers to be issued “as standard” to officers in Northern Ireland.

Describing them as “effective, protective devices” he said they are infinitely preferable to a firearm.

It comes following an incident in Belfast last night where an officer was stabbed in the neck.

The officer and a colleague were attacked by a young man with a knife after they returned him to a Belfast Trust property on the Ormeau Road.

One officer was slashed on the neck and was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery. His colleague was cut on the nose.

The twenty-two year old assailant has been detained for attempted murder.

PFNI Fed Chair Liam Kelly said the officers could have but didn’t use their firearms to protect themselves.

“The availability of Taser would have provided these frontline officers with an effective tactical option against their attacker and potentially avoided the inflicting of the injuries on them," he said. 

“We say again that Tasers are effective, protective devices and should be issued as standard to our officers. They are infinitely preferable to a firearm and anyone who thinks otherwise should look at this incident and ask the obvious question.”

It follows a PBNI report published last month which rejected the expanded use of tasers. Currently the service has only 100 taser-trained officers.

The report further asked whether the reduction in security threat level meant there should be a reconsideration on the criteria for firearms being issued to all officers rather than only those specially trained. 

The Federation criticised the report for “paying scant regard” to officer safety and not taking into account “real world policing”.

Following last night’s incident, Mr Kelly added: ““Both officers displayed remarkable professionalism when confronted by this knife-wielding individual who was clearly intent on causing great harm.

“My thoughts are with my two colleagues, and I hope both are able to return to duty as quickly as possible. They are to be commended for the care they showed this violent attacker in the first instance and their subsequent handling of a very dangerous situation. All assaults and attacks on our officers are never acceptable and must be condemned.”

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