Inspectors have said that tasers devices could be issued to more police officers on the frontline in Northern Ireland.
In a recent inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) undertook a review of the PSNI, which found that in general police treated the workforce and members of the public well.
PSNI deputy chief constable Mark Hamilton ‘welcomed’ the grading that was awarded by HMICFRS.
Mr Hamilton went on to say: “The inspection has shown that we have improved our response to preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour.
“It has also shown how we continue to plan well for the future and have a good understanding of the changing demands for the service.
“We are pleased that inspectors acknowledged our continuing work in reaching out to communities.
“We are also pleased to see our efforts to improve our well being provision, to our officers and staff, and we will continue to work to make it more accessible.
“We acknowledge the recommendation for greater external scrutiny around stop and search powers. As a Police Service, we have a number of governance groups to oversee the use of police powers, including stop and search, to ensure that they are being used proportionately and effectively. Regular updates are also provided in relation to the use of stop and search powers to the Northern Ireland Policing Board whose role is to hold the Service to account for the use of these, and other powers.
“We note the inspectorate’s comments around the use of Conducted Energy Devices (CED), such as Tasers. The availability of CEDs, as a tactical option, is one that we do not take for granted and their issue and use is subject to rigorous accountability and limited to a small group of specialist officers trained and accredited to national standards in its carriage and use.
“In addition, the report also recognises that we have a comprehensive understanding of the threats posed to our communities from serious and organised crime and terrorism and that we review the activities of Organised Crime Gangs more frequently than in England and Wales.
“The HMICFRS report recognises that recent events have made the issue of funding even more pressing, including the difficulty the Service faces in making long-term plans, due to the short-term nature of its funding. In this respect, the PSNI’s funding differs markedly from the arrangements for police forces in England and Wales. However, the PSNI has worked well to develop its plans for the future and the inspection has shown that we are using our resources effectively to keep people safe and reduce crime”.
In conclusion: “All of this is evidence of the considerable effort that has been invested into improving our service to our communities.”