Volunteer Police officers to be given the opportunity to be equipped with Taser in a first for Cheshire
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The Constabulary is set to become the first home office police force in the North West to equip its volunteer officers with Taser.
Experienced Special Constables across Cheshire will soon be given the opportunity to apply to be trained in using Taser, with the Constabulary becoming the 7th police force in the country to equip their volunteer officers with the Conducted Energy Devices.
Cheshire's Special Constabulary forms an integral and integrated part of frontline policing, providing support to full-time officers, including responding to emergency incidents within the community and at busy events such as football matches, Creamfields and Chester races.
The force currently has around 170 volunteer Special police officers, many of whom have been in post for over a decade, who help keep our county's streets even safer.
But despite our volunteer officers having the same powers as their full-time counterparts, they have not been authorised to carry a Taser until a change in legislation in May last year.
The officers will only be issued with device after they meet the College of Policing and Home Office stringent requirements, which include frontline experience of which at least twelve months has been spent qualified to patrol independently. The officers must also be members of the Police Federation, which the force has supported.
Our Special Constables, much like their full-time colleagues, will then be required to undergo the compulsory four day intense training course in how to use the device safely, correctly and meet the same required standards and assessment. All Taser trained officers, including our volunteer officers, will also be expected to complete an annual refresher course in order to continue using the device.
Special Constabulary Chief Officer Leon Boland, said:
"The Special Constabulary plays a huge part in day-to-day policing here in Cheshire, giving over 5,000 hours a month, our volunteers regularly dedicate incredible amounts of their own time to maintain public and police safety. Our volunteer police officers are professional, highly skilled and trained volunteers who want to give back to their community in a unique way, they come from all backgrounds including, medical professionals, airline pilots, teachers and business owners.
"Specials often attend emergency incidents first, putting themselves in danger alongside full-time officers to protect people in our community. Taser is an important tool available to us in policing and we want to assure the public that our volunteer officers will, quite rightly, be expected to undergo the same rigorous training as their full-time counterparts before they have access to any Conducted Energy Devices.
"We will start to begin the training of Taser to our voluntary officers in a phased approach, this will begin from November and it will now mean that our officers are further able to protect themselves and the general public when dealing with the threat from the small minority of people that wish to cause harm to both the police and the public."
Assistant Chief Constable Bill Dutton, added:
"With the change in legislation enabling Special Constables to join the police federation, we are able to select the appropriately experienced officers and equip them in this way to give them greater skills to protect the public and themselves from danger.
"Over the last 12 month the support and involvement our volunteer officers receive has increased significantly and we are able to involve them across a broader range of policing challenges, every day."
The force will be recruiting Special Constables and applications are currently open to anyone who may be interested in the role. To apply, or to find out more about becoming a volunteer police officer, please visit the careers page.
The deadline for applications is 14 November 2023 for March 2024 start.