TASERS are to be made available to every frontline officer in Durham Constabulary in a bid to offer more protection to the public and the police.

All frontline officers are being offered upgraded tasers and given intensive training on how to use the devices safely.

The move follows a plea from Police Federation National Chair, John Apter, to allow all officers to carry a taser if they wish to do so.

Durham Constabulary Chief Constable Jo Farrell said: “Sadly, there are situations in which police officers need to take immediate action to subdue violent suspects to protect the public.

“Tasers allow us to do so swiftly and safely, without causing lasting injury and are an extremely effective means of dealing with the many dangerous situations officers find themselves in.

“Too often our officers are subject to assaults in the line of duty, simply for doing their job.

“We need to make sure that our officers have the tools they need to protect the public and protect themselves”.

Northampton Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley said on Tuesday that “enough is enough” after a series of assaults on officers and announced his force will become the first in Britain to issue tasers as standard.

PC Stuart Outten was stabbed in a “frenzied” machete attack in east London earlier this month, and PC Andrew Harper of Thames Valley Police lost his life last week after responding to reports of a burglary in Berkshire.

Andy Jackson, chairman of Durham Police Federation, said: “I strongly support the wider roll-out of taser to all frontline officers should they wish to be equipped with it. Taser is an extremely effective means of dealing with the many dangerous situations that officers often face on the streets and is a less lethal option than more conventional firearms.

“In a number of cases where taser is drawn, it is not fired as the deterrent is enough, which helps protect communities as well as protecting officers from assaults.”

Tasers were first introduced into Durham in 2005, when they were issued to a handful of authorised firearms officers to provide a “less lethal” option in situations where lives were potentially at risk.

The device works by firing two small barbed darts up to a range of about ten metres, which deliver an electrical current and temporarily incapacitate the suspect until they can be restrained.

New X2 models will be rolled out across Durham Constabulary during the next 12 months, replacing the original X26 which has been used for the last 14 years.

The more powerful X2 model Taser features a number of improvements on earlier versions of the system, most notably the capacity to fire a second cartridge if the first misses its target.

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman said: “I am very much in favour of this decision. There have been some horrific attacks on police officers recently, highlighting the need to better protect those that risk so much to protect us.

“Tasers have a role to play in this effort as does the recruitment of more frontline officers.

“Though the use of tasers comes with some risk, I am confident that with the right training and oversight, our police officers will use them responsibly.”

John Apter, Police Federation National Chair, added: “We are very much still a country that polices by consent. And given the huge number of incidents police officers attend, the number of times taser is used remains very small.

“The mere presence of the equipment is often enough to de-escalate situations making it extremely effective. It is paramount that officers receive the right tools to do their jobs.”