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Taser cops ‘twice as likely to face attacks on duty’

POLICE who carry Tasers are twice as likely to be assaulted as unarmed officers, a study found.

They are also more likely to use force against suspects.

During 400 shifts, Taser-carrying City of London officers were physically assaulted six times, compared with three attacks on colleagues.

Over the same period, the use of force was 48 per cent higher among officers carrying Tasers.

Despite this, the electroshock weapons were only fired on two occasions, although they were ‘deholstered’ nine times.

While the number of actual incidents was small, researchers from Cambridge university said the doubling in assaults was significant.

‘The City of London police rarely discharged Tasers during the study,’ said Dr Barak Ariel, of the Cambridge Institute of Criminology.

‘Yet the very presence of the weapon led to increased hostility between the police and public.

‘The presence of Tasers appears to provoke a pattern where suspects become more aggressive toward officers, who in turn respond more forcefully.’

Study co-author Ch Supt David Lawes, of the City of London police, said: ‘The use of Tasers has been a proportionate and sensible introduction to policing against a backdrop of unsophisticated terror attacks and an increase in violent crime across London.’

The force would continue reviewing tactics to ‘ensure policing is efficient and safer for both the general public and our officers’, he added.