Tower Hamlets Police to be given Tasers from February

A demonstration of a Taser stun gun

A demonstration of a Taser stun gun - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Police officers in Tower Hamlets are to be armed with Taser guns from next month, it has been announced.

The weapons have previously been issued to firearms officers in the borough, but from February they will be used by non-specialist officers.

Tower Hamlets police will be allocated around eight Tasers, and officers will undergo a “rigorous” three day training regime before being armed with the weapons. Each Taser will cost an estimated £975 with four cartridges.

Ch Insp Mick Sanderson is overseeing thee introduction of the weapons, which use electric currents to disrupt people’s control of their muscles.

“It’s very effective”, he said of the weapon. “It causes no long-term damage, and minimal short-term damage.

“We have had a certain amount of community engagement already and have generally had positive feedback in terms of its use and viability to officers against violent criminals”, he added.

The announcement follows consultation with the borough’s Independent Advisory Group, which provides guidance and feedback to the police.

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The group’s chair, Sarah Castro, said she was confident their introduction would improve safety in the community.

“I think everybody that learns anything about them will be in favour of their use”, she added.

The Metropolitan Police is currently in the process of allocating Tasers to all London boroughs, with the support of staff association the Police Federation.

But human rights campaign group Amnesty International – which has previously criticised the weapons - said they should only be given to officers who had been given the “highest level of training possible”.

Arms programme director Oliver Sprague added: “Tasers are dangerous, potentially lethal weapons.

“As such they should only be used in a limited set of circumstances where there’s a risk to life or very serious injury.”