Opinion: Newham police Borough Commander:“Tasers are one of the safest methods we have”

Newham's Borough Commander Rob Jones.

Newham's Borough Commander Rob Jones. - Credit: Archant

This week I would like to discuss Taser, the Met’s newest tactical weapon.

Taser devices work by using electrical current to incapacitate subjects, disrupting the body’s own control of its muscles.

This is known as ‘neuro-muscular incapacitation.’ The device fires two small barbs on the end of a wire at a target, that attach themselves to a person or their clothes.

A 50,000 volt electrical current is then run through the wire, which usually causes the person to fall over, providing enough time for police officers to safely restrain the person on the floor.

Taser devices are used in situations where police officers need to urgently detain incompliant or dangerous suspects, especially where it would be too risky for officers to approach an individual at close range.

As with any of the tactical options available to the Met, Taser will only ever be used in incidents when it is both appropriate and necessary.

At Newham, we currently have 32 officers trained in the use of Taser, who are all on our response teams.

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The officers must undergo a rigorous three day course and full fitness and eyesight tests before they are allowed to carry a device. Even their supervisors must complete a Taser management course in order to be able to deal with any incident where Taser is used. Officers must then complete regular annual re-training to ensure that their skills are maintained.

Whilst the use of Taser has previously had some controversial press in this country, it remains one of the safest tactical options that we have at our disposal.

In the majority of situations it is a much safer, less painful and more considerate use of force than a police baton or CS spray.

The effects of the Taser only last a minimal amount of time; in most cases after deployment, the suspect is pain-free with full control of their body back within minutes.

We have had some fantastic feedback from members of the public who have seen our Taser-equipped officers out and about on patrol.

One local resident commented on how safe they felt knowing that the police could handle any situation that they came across.

Along with all our other powers, tactics and equipment, the Met is constantly adapting to make our communities better places and ensure that Londoners feel safe.