THE NUMBER of West Midlands Police officers trained how to use Tasers will more than double by next year.
The move is part of a £3million project which will see the increase go up from 643 to 1,441 within three years.
A new X2 Taser is being rolled out across the force. It can be fired twice without reloading and it can go through baggy and multiple layers of clothing.
At the moment, there are around 1000 cops who are now fully trained in how and when to use the new and old devices.
Chief Superintendent Steve Graham, who is head of response and leading the X2 rollout, said: “A great deal of time, training and financial investment has gone into this project and will see a range of officers, from response to neighbourhood teams, able to use the devices.
“I would like to thank all those who have volunteered to train as Taser officers.
“This is not about making us an armed police force but equipping them with better protection for not only themselves but the wider public.
“A Taser is only used when necessary but with higher levels of violence we need to do all we can to maintain safety.”
Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “I have invested to increase the number of officers at West Midlands Police who carry and are trained to use Tasers.
“This increase in the number of officers carrying Tasers will help protect officers and the public against growing threats faced, while not undermining the long standing British tradition of unarmed policing.
“Scrutiny of taser usage is vital. We will ensure the footage recorded by body worn cameras during Taser incidents is monitored closely by panels made up of members of the public.
“We will maintain close oversight of Taser usage to ensure it is used proportionately and fairly.”