Fifty neighbourhood and rural policing officers are set to be equipped with a Taser in a first for neighbourhood and rural teams in the county.
Historically, Taser capability for the force has been provided by officers in the East Midlands Operational Support Services unit (EMOpSS), which provides specialist services like roads and armed police officers, the tactical support team and the dog section.
Last year, 100 additional officers in Northamptonshire were trained and equipped in frontline response and proactive teams.
Now, officers from the neighbourhood teams, will join the list of officers who can deploy Taser.
Chief Constable Nick Adderley, said: “Nationally and locally there has been an increase in knife related crime. It therefore makes complete sense that the officers that are out in the communities are equipped and able to respond to incidents quickly and effectively. Extending Taser capability allows us to do that.
“Taser is only one of many tools and tactics available to an officer to help manage threat and risk. For those equipped with Taser, it won’t always be the first or most viable solution to a situation.
“However, crucially it is a less-lethal weapon designed to temporarily incapacitate a suspect. Indeed, we often find that simply the presence of a Taser can calm and resolve a situation without it necessarily being used to combat a violent situation.
“And every time Taser is deployed, it is reported and scrutinised to make sure that it was the correct course of action.”
In 2015, 76 officers were Taser trained, last year that number increased to 176, and this year that number is set to further increase to 226, a significant growth on before.
Chief Constable Nick Adderley, added: “Nationally in 2017/18, 71 police officers on average were assaulted every day as they served the public.
“In Northamptonshire alone, 380 officers were assaulted last year, meaning at least one officer is assaulted every day in our County, in some form or another.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold, who has provided funding of £67,000 to pay for the increase in Taser capability, said: “Northamptonshire Police officers must be able to protect the public and keep themselves safe from anyone intent on causing harm.
“I was keen to make this investment and support the Chief Constable’s view that training more officers to use Taser will give them a real and visible deterrent in situations where they believe that someone’s safety is under threat.”
The Police Federation has been consulted on the decision to extend the use of Taser.
Between September 2017 and October 2018, Northamptonshire Police used* Taser on 317 occasions although it was only actually fired 21 times.
*Recorded use of Taser is defined as occasions when Taser is drawn, aimed, red dotted, arced or fired.