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Chief constable defends use of tasers

The chief constable of Wiltshire Police today defended the use of tasers after the Police and Crime Commissioner admitted the public will have fresh concerns over their use.

It comes after ITV News West Country was leaked footage of the moment a police officer fired a fifty thousand volt stun gun at a naked suspect in a custody cell in Melksham. The Chief Constable tried to stop any of the film from being shown. Richard Payne reports:

PCC's response to Taser trial

I do not intend to comment on the outcome of this trial. Furthermore, the issue of when it is right to deploy a Taser is an operational matter for the Chief Constable.

However, there is a public interest in the recent increase in the use of Taser and in whether national guidance and policies on Taser are being set out clearly to officers in training.

I think the public may also have questions about whether it is appropriate to use Taser in the confined space of a custody cell.

In my view it is the responsibility of PCCs, working with the College of Policing, to ensure that operational guidance is sufficiently robust and that adequate safeguards for the public are built in.

I also hope that the Independent Police Complaints Commission will consult with PCCs as and when they review Taser use.

I intend to discuss the implications of this case with the Chief Constable to determine what lessons have been learned.

– The Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson, said:

Wiltshire police statement on taser CCTV

Wiltshire police provided ITV News Westcountry with a statement giving their reasons for not releasing the CCTV showing an officer using a taser on a suspect.

Wiltshire would like to reiterate the decision that we would not be releasing the CCTV at this stage.The Chief Constable has made this decision due to the on-going misconduct proceedings in relation to this case.We would like to thank you for your co-operation in this matter.

– Wiltshire Police

ITV News West Country has now obtained the CCTV showing the moment PC Lee Birch, of Wiltshire Police, used the taser on Daniel Dove inside a police cell. A jury at Bristol Crown Court cleared the officer of assault.

Watch the video here.

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