Justin Davenport, Crime Editor
22 Nov 2011
New Scotland Yard chief Bernard Hogan-Howe today called for police response officers to be routinely armed with Taser stun guns to tackle dangerous criminals in London.
He said one option could be to equip all police cars in the capital with the weapon, which can temporarily disable suspects.
The Met Commissioner spoke out after four police officers were stabbed and seriously injured in a butcher’s shop in Kingsbury in north-west London at the weekend. Two are still recovering in hospital.
He said: “We need to talk to the police authority, but in short I want to see wide availability of Taser.
“If we accept that Taser is legally available then we need to make sure that it is available when it is needed.”
Speaking on LBC’s Nick Ferrari show Mr Hogan-Howe revealed that it took 20 minutes for firearms crews, who are equipped with Tasers, to reach the scene in Kingsbury on Saturday.
By that time the unarmed officers had suffered serious injuries as they subdued a man who was lashing out with a butcher’s knife. The patrol officers from Harrow used CS spray and batons but none was armed with a Taser.
However, today the Met revealed that armed officers fired Tasers at the suspect twice as he continued to resist arrest when he was being taken from the police van into the police station.
At present only trained firearms officers and members of the Territorial Support Group are equipped with Taser guns. Any extension of their use is likely to be criticised by human rights groups amid fears that the weapon can be dangerous.
Mr Hogan-Howe said: “We have seen this in other forces around the country. It has not led to more people being Tasered, but it does lead to officers and the public being kept safer.”
Police would be able to ban unsafe drivers on-the-spot if they thought they posed a danger on health or other grounds under a change in the law discussed in Parliament today. Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell is demanding the move after a tragedy in his constituency, when a teenager died after being hit by a pensioner who had been advised by police not to drive.
The City of London policy chief responsible for dealing with the St Paul’s protest camp is stepping down to spend more time with his wife.
Stuart Fraser, 65, the City of London Corporation’s elected policy chairman, announced that he will take up a new role in the organisation early next year as he continues to face criticism over his handling of the Occupy London demonstration.