“The notion of an unarmed police service is quite frankly a non-starter”

Some of the new members of the Policing Board [that link’s on redirect – Ed] have met the Chief Constable before, but they all got a quick reminder that he is in charge of operational matters at today’s public meeting

“The notion of an unarmed police service is quite frankly a non-starter,” he said. “Currently my assessment is that we are where we need to be. I have no plans to start removing guns.”

And Hugh Orde also told the Policing Board that, now that human rights assessments had been completed

“I have decided in principle that the introduction of Tasers for specialist officers is something I want to do. That having been said, no officers have been trained and no devices have been purchased.”

More from the Chief Constable’s comments

Home Secretary John Reid wants the guns made available to police units such as tactical support teams and drugs squads.

And following human rights assessments, Sir Hugh has concluded they could help protect his officers.

He will meet with a Policing Board committee later this month to discuss the plans after stressing how no-one in the UK has yet been killed by the weapon.

It is unlikely that Tasers will be in use before the end of the year.

But Sir Hugh insisted: “There comes a time when, as Chief Constable, I feel my officers have rights too.

“The way Taser is used in the UK has not led to one death and, because officers had this option available to them, they did not have to resort to lethal use of force.”