TASERS should be rolled out to every front line police officer who wants to carry one, the Thames Valley Police Federation has said.
His comments came as the Police Federation of England and Wales released results of a public poll which showed 71 per cent of the 2,004 members of the public backed officers carrying a Taser
Mr Graham Smith said: “It's been a mission of mine for the last 18 months to initiate a grown up conversation with the public about the police having the option to use tasers.
"With regards to the taser, the public are genuinely supportive of this initiative. Even with firearms the public are generally ambivalent, it's not as big an issue as some people make it out to be.
"Because of the ongoing terrorist threat, it's likely that the first officers arriving at the scene of an incident will be unarmed, and thus, won't be able to protect the public.
"The police force have come a long way since I joined 30 years ago. I used to patrol around Reading with basically a stick and a pair of handcuffs. With a radio if I was lucky!
"I could be on patrol and come across somebody with a knife, or a weapon. My options are very limited. I honestly believe it's the least we can do is provide the officers with the tools they need to protect themselves and the public.
"I believe most officers would like to carry tasers, but what's holding back is the cost. Central Government need to get behind this and fund it, it needs to be a national decision made from the top.
"There is understandably, some nervousness among politicians and senior police officers but the reality is people need the tools in order to protect the public from harm. This would be a step in the right direction."
The handheld weapon is designed to temporarily incapacitate a suspect through the use of an electrical current.
Thames Valley Police have been approached for comment.
This week, Met Police started a survey on whether police officers want to be armed - story here: http://www.bucksherald.co.uk/news/police-officers-to-be-consulted-on-whether-they-wish-to-be-armed-1-7763324