Tasers will be 'last resort' for Jersey police officers

  • Otis Holmes reports

An instructor tasked with training officers to carry tasers in Jersey says they will only be used as a last resort.

Last month, politicians voted in favour of all officers being able to carry the devices so long as they have received specialist training. Previously, they could only be used by firearms officers.

Firearms Instructor PC Scott Docherty says while it gives officers added protection, tasers will only be deployed when all other options have been exhausted.

He said: "It's just another tactical option, it's just another piece of equipment that they may have to use. Obviously the biggest piece of equipment we have got is our voices, just speaking to people, that usually deals with the situation. But it just gives them more force is they have to use it."

Officers who wish to carry a taser will have to apply to attend a pass or fail training course, which will last five days.

Any time a taser is drawn, the decision has to be scrutinised by instructors and senior managers within the force.

During a twelve month trial period, tasers were used 22 times by officers.

The 'use' of a taser does not necessarily mean it has been fired, it also includes when they are drawn.

Tasers were only fired three times out of the 22 occasions of ‘use’ during the trial.

Deputy Rob Ward put forward an amendment calling for that period to be extended, which was rejected by the States Assembly.

He says care must be taken to ensure certain demographics are not being targeted by the use of the devices and wants to see their use closely monitored.

He said: "What the trial does, in more normal times - post covid and as we move out of covid - is it gives a genuine reflection of day to day policing and the use of tasers.

"It is only a small number of officers that have them at the moment, but if we extend that, what will that do to their use and what will that do to the nature of policing?"

Jersey's Children's Commissioner warns that there are potentially longer term implications both for young people and those who are suffering with poor mental health.