PC suspended after taser gun incident

A POLICE officer has been suspended following an incident involving a taser gun and a drunk and unruly patient at the Conquest Hospital.

Sussex Police’s professional standards department is investigating the allegation regarding an officer’s use of taser on Friday 21 March at 11.30pm.

The taser was not discharged and the 31-year-old male patient from Hastings was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer. He was bailed until April 26.

A 35-year-old male officer based in East Sussex has been suspended while the investigation is ongoing.

Simon Purkiss, spokesman for East Sussex Healthcare Trust which run the Conquest, said: “We are aware of an incident at the Conquest Hospital on March 21. The matter is being dealt with by Sussex Police.”

Officers who carry tasers outside of the firearms unit must pass suitability checks before undergoing a thorough four-day training programme. Tasers were deployed a total of 164 times in Sussex in 2013, a rise from 32 in 2011 and 30 in 2012. The figures equate to a 447 per cent increase in that period. Tasers were rolled out to some trained members of the response teams in Sussex in February 2013. Previously they had only been used by firearms officers.

Chief inspector Jim Bartlett said: “The rise in the number of times we have deployed tasers is not surprising given that we have increased the number of officers who are trained to use them and can carry them on duty.

“They have proven to be a useful option in resolving serious incidents of violence or threats of violence. The mere presence of a Taser has successfully defused many situations where officers have been called to people behaving violently, making threats or carrying weapons. Of the 164 times they were deployed on 74 occasions they were drawn but did not need to be aimed before the incident was resolved. In 2013 they were only fired by officers 13 times which shows how much of a deterrent they can be just by being shown to an offender.”