Police call for every officer to be issued Taser gun

RANK-and-file police yesterday called for every front-line officer in Scotland to be issued with Tasers to protect them from armed criminals.

Members of the Scottish Police Federation, which represents about 15,000 frontline officers, welcomed the proposals as they were floated at the association's annual conference in Peebles.

Delegates also gave strong support for more police to be allowed to use firearms amid concern over the risk posed by criminals who are increasingly seeking out guns as an "insurance policy".

Currently only a few hundred officers are trained in the use of firearms and controversial Tasers. The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) approved the use of the weapons, which deliver a 50,000-volt electric shock to their target, last year and they are currently being rolled out across the country.

Yesterday, federation delegates heard that Tasers have been used four times since their introduction - twice in situations where the only option was to shoot the suspect.

The motion to consider blanket provision of Tasers for operation officers was put forward by Constable Raymond Pratt, secretary of Strathclyde Police Federation.

The conference also heard that society was losing the war against drugs as a senior officer called for illegal substances such as heroin and crack cocaine to be legalised.

Inspector Jim Duffy, the chairman of the group, said that despite huge resources being poured into the fight against drugs, they had become easier and cheaper to obtain.

His proposal to legalise drugs was applauded by delegates, although one senior drugs officer suggested that he had "lost the plot".

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