OPINION: Broadcaster Steve Allen looks at issues of today

PUBLISHED: 09:00 08 July 2017


A new meaning to charging a suspect

After recent events more armed police were visible but I hadn’t seen any till recently.

I was in Lakeside and saw some police holding their guns just outside Debenhams.

We are used to unarmed police in the UK so it is still a strange sight. It’s both reassuring that they are there and unnerving that they are needed.

This week we heard plans for more police to have tasers. That feels like a good compromise. In fact after watching Brit Cops, Police Camera Action, Police Interceptors and every other show on TV I assumed most police had tasers.

On those shows every chase seems to end in a taser being used. It’s so frequent when the voiceover says, “The suspect was charged,” I presume they mean with 10,000 volts.

Under current rules only officers with more than two years’ experience are allowed to carry the powerful electric stun guns. That means the new plan would see new recruits being armed.

I’m back to being unsure. Someone who is new and nervous having a taser is worrying. At the stage in your career when you are being sent to a shop for a long weight or a bubble for a spirit level you shouldn’t have a taser.

Another story helped me this week. In Kent a school has started using a device that gives electric shocks to teachers because it helps them deal with stress. The Leigh Academies Trust schools are trying the device that creates alpha-waves in the brains of the teachers and they have reported improvements in anxiety levels.

So I suggest a compromise. In the first two years of a police recruit’s career they should carry a taser that’s set to alpha-wave. The threat of the device would help to stop criminals but if it went off by mistake it would simply cheer people up.

•Tune into Steve’s Friday show on Time 107.5 FM at 2.15pm for the weekly local paper review with the Recorder.

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