ALL frontline police officers should have tasers available to them according to the chairman of the Essex Police Federation.

Proposals for officers on probation to be able to carry out the weapons have been put forward by Chief Constables in the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC).

The newly qualified officers would have to complete a specialised selection and training process in order to be given a taser.

Bosses at the council say the option to arm should be made available to individual Chief Constables who will have the final say on who, and how many officers are trained in the use of the stun gun.

Under the proposed regulations, probationers would have to apply for training and be able to demonstrate the same level of conflict management skills as more senior officers.

But their ability rather than their experience would be the deciding factor.

At the moment, officers serving their two year probation period are banned from carrying them.

Essex Police Federation chairman Steve Taylor said the fact more probationers were now at the frontline of policing meant he would back calls for them to be allowed to carry the tasers.

He said: “It’s a tricky one – ideally you want all frontline officers to be armed with a taser and certainly that was reflected in a poll we carried out with members last year.

“Using a taser certainly has a high deterrent factor and makes officers feel that bit safer.

“However, until the cost of the taser itself and the associated training comes down then the chances of all frontline officers having one is slim, even if it’s an important part of personal protection.

“We’re certainly not in a position here for every officer to have one and, as it is a limited resource, do we want to be giving it to student officers?

“The paradox is that we want it to go to frontline officers and more and more probationer officers are making up that frontline.

"My argument is that it all frontline officers should have a taser anyway."

NPCC lead for less lethal weapons, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D'Orsi said: “Probationers are posted to the frontline and they respond to the same calls as other colleagues.

"These calls range from dealing with vulnerable people in need of help to incidents of violence.

"We want to ensure that they have the right equipment to keep themselves, suspects and members of the public safe.

"As part of this, we want to give forces the opportunity to train their probationary officers to carry a taser."