Northumbria Police's frontline force to be armed with Tasers after more than 120 officers assaulted in Northumberland in one year

Violence against police officers is “completely unacceptable” and should not be a day-to-day part of fighting crime on the streets.

Monday, 2nd March 2020, 4:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 10:36 am

That is the message from Northumbria Police’s Chief Constable as the force reveals plans for a major new roll-out of Tasers for frontline officers.

Hundreds of officers on the beat will have access to new Tasers, and associated training, as part of a pledge by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness to fully equip the force with vital crime-fighting tools.

And the investment comes as new figures reveal assaults on Northumbria Police officers have increased by 9% in just one year.

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Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness with Northumbria Police's Chief Constable Winton Keenen.

In Northumberland, 124 assaults took place in 12 months. This accounts for 14% of assaults made against officers across the force area.

Ms McGuinness said: “I know from speaking to the public that across the Northumbria force area people want the police to keep them safe but also for officers to be safe on our streets as well.

“I’m proud to stand by the force, so that officers have what they need to stop crime and protect the public. That’s more police on our streets and more officers equipped to fight crime.”

Thirty per-cent (257) of assaults against Northumbria Police officers took place in Newcastle. Two hundred happened in Sunderland, 140 happened in North Tyneside, 83 in Gateshead and 59 in South Tyneside.

Kim McGuinness has pledged a major roll-out of Tasers.

Funding for some of the Tasers available to the force comes from a police commissioner bid to the Home Office.

Previous Home Office funding awarded to tackle violent crime has also been used to purchase additional tasers.

Chief Constable Winton Keenen said the investment will ensure the safety of communities they serve and protect officers’ welfare while they are out in the field.

He added: ““Increasing our Taser capabilities means more officers will have this important tool available to defend not only themselves but also the public we are here to protect.

“I know just how dedicated officers are to their communities and they regularly face challenging situations – but all-too often this includes violence.

“I want to make it very clear, this is completely unacceptable and violence should never simply be considered a part of the job.”