Taser issue to police after escalating violence

February 20, 2023


Officers in the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) are to be issued with Tasers to deal with escalating violence against them.

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) says the roll-out of Taser to all frontline officers is “now essential”.

PSNI figures reveal the number of assaults on officers has reached a five-year high.

Those with injury have increased year-on-year, from 516 for the period April 2018 to March 2019, to 911 for the period April 2021 to March 2022.

From April 2022 to this year to date, there have been 923, said the PSNI.

Assistant Chief Constable Bobby Singleton, head of local policing, said: “Police officers often step into the unknown, placing their lives at risk, to protect others and that should never be taken for granted,” he said.

“Being a police officer has always been a tough job, but being spat at and spat on, kicked, punched or bitten is not ‘part of the job’.

“Our officers are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. They are public servants, but they’re not punchbags.”

In one incident in Strabane, six police officers were assaulted in Strabane, three of them female.

In a single week in January, 43 police officers were assaulted, one of them sustaining a dislocated knee.

Mr Singleton said: “Too often, our officers are the focus of people’s aggression”.

“Unfortunately it’s not unique and, increasingly, we see our officers exposed to attacks, assaults and acts of violence,” he said.


“We are facing a different type of demand now. It’s no longer just conventional crime that we deal with. We deal with extremely complex issues, issues around vulnerability, which we are regrettably forced into trying to resolve.

“In doing so, at times, officers are exposed to serious risk.”

PFNI chair Liam Kelly said: “On average seven officers are assaulted every single day as they go about the task of safeguarding this entire community,” he said.

“Violent, thuggish behaviour involving vicious physical attacks must be addressed. In my book, that means giving officers access to the tools to protect both themselves and victims caught up in violent outbursts.

“Taser is a proven deterrent. It makes the would-be attacker think twice and, in many instances, a violent confrontation is averted because of its presence, thus minimising the risk of potential serious assault and injury to our officers.”

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