Chief Constable Lucy D’Orsi – NPCC lead for Less Lethal Weapons
I am Lucy D’Orsi, the Chief Constable of the British Transport Police. I am also the National Police Chiefs Council lead for Less Lethal Weapons, which includes Conducted Energy Devices (commonly referred to as Taser).
Welcome to our ‘Taser’ website where you will find information about how the police operational deploy with Taser and how we govern its use. It also contains responses to the most frequently asked questions which I am sure you will find interesting to read. I hope the website will assist to ensure we maintain the trust and confidence within our communities by being open and transparent about the work we do.
Since its introduction, Taser has been a contentious and emotive use of force option. It polarises public opinion and it is regularly debated and discussed in mainstream and social media. The public are asking more questions than ever before about the police use of Taser and what it means for policing and protecting the public.
It is widely acknowledged that there are concerns about some of the situations where Taser is used, for example the disproportional use on young black men; use on people with mental health problems or who are otherwise vulnerable; and use on those who are under 18. I am pleased that the issues of the disproportionate use of Taser on young black men is subject to a comprehensive academic research programme as part of the Police Race Action Plan.
As the oversight body for Taser use in the UK, we are constantly monitoring Taser use data and the context that sits behind it. Every officer must justify their use of Taser, ensuring is appropriate, proportionate and in line with the existing policy, guidance, and legislation.
I am confident in the use of Taser by police in the UK and I think it is absolutely right UK policing has Taser as an option available to protect the public. We find, that in more than 85% of incidents where Taser is present, its mere presence tends to cause the violence to be significantly reduced.
The rigorous assessment process by scientific and medical experts prior to Tasers being authorised for UK use along with the standards of training, policy and guidance is arguably one of the most robust in the world however there is always room for improvement.
Andy Harding – NPCC Strategic Manager for Less Lethal Weapons
I am Andy Harding and I’m the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) Strategic Manager for Less Lethal Weapons and Counter Drones. I support Chief Constable Lucy D’Orsi in her role as NPCC Lead for Less Lethal Weapons and Counter Drones by designing, developing, and delivering the strategy, policy, and operational approach to less lethal weapons and counter drones nationally.
I recently retired as a Police Inspector from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) after 31 years’ service.
During my policing career I’ve been a frontline officer serving the communities of Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush, Acton Ealing and West End Central (Soho); been part of the Territorial Support Group; and worked within Firearms Command and Intelligence departments.
In 2006, I became a Taser Instructor and led the implementation of Taser to non-firearms officers in the MPS (referred to as Specially Trained Officers). This initial expansion saw not only the delivery of training to 2000 police officers from frontline roles but also included a significant amount of community engagement for London. I joined the national Taser practitioner group in 2007, which assists with creating the national Taser training curriculum and delivery of the national Taser Lead Instructor courses and have been contributing ever since.
My training and experiences have enabled me to train officers and staff across the globe and provide presentations to a variety of audiences from tacticians to strategic policymakers and governments.
I have advised many countries on how to deploy Taser operationally, including some American police departments, and I am published in a scientific journal relating to operational delivery of Tasers.
In the final part of my career, I became a staff officer and advisor to the NPCC lead for less lethal weapons. After my retirement I returned in a new role as the NPCC Strategic Manager for Less Lethal Weapons and Counter Drones which I enjoy immensely.