More tasers for Thames Police

Tasers issue an electronic shock when discharged Credit: PA

Thames Police are to equip 300 more officers with with Tasers after a rise in the number of assaults on staff.

Thames Valley Police said the number of officers trained to use the electronic shock weapon would increase by 280 to 485.

Currently only firearms officers in the force are permitted to carry and use Taser devices, which use an electric current to stun an offender, but this will now change.

The target is immobilized via two metal probes connected via wires to the Taser Credit: PA

Assistant chief constable John Campbell, who is responsible for tactical support, said: "Over the past three years we have seen a rise in the number of incidents firearms officers with Tasers attend to provide support to unarmed colleagues.

"These are incidents where officers are faced with someone who is threatening violence or has the potential to cause significant harm to officers or members of the public, on many occasions the offender will be believed to be carrying weapons."

The force first issued Tasers to officers in 2004.

Over the past three years the total number of Taser deployments has increased from 795 in 2010, to 842 in 2011 and 936 in 2012.

However, the number of instances where the devices were actually discharged is low at around 2% of deployments.