Police officers can now carry Taser in court after years of campaigning for a change in legislation.
Subject to local policy, from today, officers will not be required to remove the devices when attending court on routine business, such as giving evidence or delivering exhibits.
“This is welcome news that makes sense for police officers,” says Liz Groom, chair of Cambridgeshire Police Federation, “They should to be able to have their usual items of personal protective equipment, including Taser, with them at all times when on duty.
“Having access to Taser while in court could enable them to protect not just themselves but the court staff and the public should it be necessary.”
The move comes after the Lord Chief Justice amended the Criminal Practice Direction.
Evidence gathered from front-line officers by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) highlighted the difficulties they faced when having to remove and store the equipment before being allowed into court – including lack of secure storage facilities and eating into their time.
Steve Hartshorn, firearms and Taser lead for PFEW, thanked Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi, who is the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for less lethal weapons, NPCC Taser adviser Inspector Andy Harding and the team that worked hard for many years to secure the legislative changes needed.
“We would also like to thank Federation members who took the time to supply evidence to support the successful outcome. It has been very frustrating for my colleagues whose jobs have been impeded at times because of this,” he said.
“This much welcomed and long-overdue decision means they can better protect themselves, the courts’ staff and the public if faced with violence or threats of violence and we appreciate the judiciary and senior judges for listening to the concerns raised.”