Cambs Police and Crime Cmmr Ablewhite on the New TASER X2

Saturday, March 4th, 2017. 12:32pm

On Thursday the 2nd of March 2017 the authorisation of a new model of TASER weapon, the X2, for use by UK police was announced via a written ministerial statement to the House of Commons.

I Wrote about the TASER X2 in 2012.

On the evening of the 2nd of March I asked Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite how he will be responding to the authorisation of the new weapon. When I asked if he would be buying these new TASERs for our officers he replied:

Well we’ve certainly got a bit of life left in the ones that we’ve got already. What we generally do when any sort of equipment gets to the end of its life then we’ll introduce the new stuff, we’ll certainly be looking at it, with interest.

Ablewhite said he would be considering the new X2 TASER locally and deciding if it is appropriate for Cambridgeshire, and there will be a public deliberation on the device. Ablewhite said the joint specialist [firearms] team from Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire will be reviewing it and he suggested acquisition and deployment of the new weapon in Cambridgeshire would be considered by the Police and Crime Commissioners in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire too.

Ablewhite reported he had been red-dotted by a TASER but declined having the fifty thousand volts administered to him saying: “I decided I didn’t want to go with it quite frankly”.

The authorisation of the new TASER weapon was accompanied by a medical implication report. I was disappointed the review, based almost entirely on unpublished sources, didn’t consider the use in practice to-date of the new weapon, but it did make clear it was not a finished piece of work and real-life experience of the new weapon if it is adopted by the police in the UK will need to be reviewed.

My Views

I don’t want us to move any further towards a society policed by force rather than consent. I think we should resist an American style of policing where every interaction with the police comes with a threat of force.

I do though want every officer armed with a conventional firearm to have a TASER as an alternative, and we should provide our officers with effective equipment. The new model of TASER has features intended to make it more reliable and easier to use so it’s certainly worthy of consideration.

When the Government wanted to see all front-line officers armed with TASERs (something which has been resisted at a local level across almost the entire country) they offered forces large numbers of the original X26 TASER; this means many forces will have large stocks of relatively lightly used, or un-used, TASER weapons and the decision to spend more money on the newer model will be difficult and finely balanced.

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