New two-shot Taser approved for police use in England and Wales

Saphora Smith

A new two-shot Taser has been given the green light for use by police in England and Wales.

The Taser X2 is said to be more accurate and features a second cartridge for back-up if the first shot fails.

The new device has been approved by the Home Office following calls from police to replace the current model.

Policing Minister Brandon Lewis said: "The Government is committed to giving the police the tools they need to do their job effectively - we must ensure our officers have access to the best, and most up-to-date technology available.

"Tasers are an important tactical option for the police, particularly in potentially violent situations where other tactics have been considered or failed."

A two-shot Taser has been approved for police use in England and Wales (PA)

The X2, replacing the current analogue X26 Taser, is a "smart" device with improved features, according to managing director for Taser UK Matt Spencer.

He said the new device automatically records and stores more data and can be linked to footage from police body-worn cameras, making it "more accountable".

The medical effects of the new Taser are "in line with" those expected in other similar devices, the body advising the Government on their use said.

But the use of Tasers has proven controversial in the past.

Former footballer Dalian Atkinson died after being shot with a police Taser when officers were called to an incident in his home town of Telford, Shropshire, in August last year.

The ex-Aston Villa striker's family expressed frustration at not knowing "why such force was used" by police on the night of his death.

Alongside the announcement about the X2 the Government said police will, from next month, be required to collect and publish all information on Taser use.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "We ask the police to put themselves in harm's way to defend us and the use of force is a vital part of their powers.

"But when the police take the difficult decision to deploy force it is also vital that the people they serve can scrutinise it.”

The first data set, including where the Taser was used, and the age and ethnicity of the people involved, is expected to be published by forces in July.

The introduction of the new device has been welcomed by police, but calls have been made for it to be properly funded.

Steve White, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales said: "Beyond simply giving it their seal of approval, the Government needs to offer financial support to allow forces to begin using the new device; otherwise it'll stay firmly on the shelf.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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