PFEW success as Taser training offered to officers with CVD

Federation pressure has resulted in a College of Policing U-turn to allow ofcers with colour vision deficiency (CVD) to apply for Taser training. The College’s decision to establish

a new training and assessment process means ofcers with CVD – whose vision falls below national standards and who were previously excluded from Taser training – will now be assessed using a Taser fixed sight. PFEW challenged the college over

its original CVD Taser training standards on the grounds they were unfair and discriminatory. Steve Hartshorn, PFEW Firearms

and Taser Lead, explained: “Our colleagues with CVD face the same dangers as those without it. Denying them the opportunity to carry this essential piece of equipment was putting both their lives and those of the public at risk. “The new training and assessment

process will allow ofcers with CVD to apply for Taser training and to be deployed operationally if successful. The College’s decision to change policy is an important step forward for those ofcers with CVD and for the protection of themselves and the public. “Taser is an extremely efective

means of dealing with the many dangerous situations that our ofcers face on the streets. It is a less lethal option in comparison to conventional firearms. In 85 per cent of cases, simply drawing the Taser from its holster de-escalates many situations safely, preventing a physical interaction.” In August, the Home Ofce also

approved the new Taser 7, which uses a green laser and is suitable for ofcers with certain types of CVD. The condition afects one in 12 men and one in 200 women.

Wiltshire’s PC Myles Scott, who has CVD

PC Ben Barnes at Downing Street

PC Barnes playing for Skelmersdale United


As a police officer, PC Ben Barnes is used to saving the day, but he’s also been making saves of a different kind – as a goalkeeper in the FA Cup. When not on duty, the Lancashire

officer is captain of Skelmersdale United, and this season the North West Counties League (Premier Division) club qualified for the first round of the FA Cup for the first time since 1971. PC Barnes said: “As a captain and

goalie that translates into a lot of telling people what to do. So, my experience with policing and commanding people has been really valuable.” He joined Lancashire Constabulary in 2009 as a Police Community Support Officer. He put football aside to focus on his new career but soon enough the Force invited him to join its squad. He now plays for the England police football team too.

Speaking about his dual life, PC

Barnes explained: “Senior management have been very supportive, both of me and colleagues who play other sports semi-professionally. Having something outside of policing is a big help, as having been in the Force from a young age it’s easy to get institutionalised. So, it’s good to see things from another point of view.” As a police officer he has been run

over twice, and was impaled by part of a motorbike though, he says: —“It was fine — just a hole.”

8 | POLICE | DECEMBER 2020 In 2017, he was nominated for a

Police Bravery Award for arresting a violent rapist. PC Barnes had gone to a house where screams had been heard and was met by a woman with facial injuries in extreme distress. He faced the attacker and was elbowed several times in the face. PAVA spray only enraged the man further. PC Barnes was able to shove the man into a bedroom, apply distraction blows and cuff him. Despite being hurt, he knocked on a neighbours’ door to capture the necessary evidence. Recalling the incident, he said:

“It was very strange seeing my face in the local papers – a bit embarrassing honestly. Cops aren’t celebrities. Don’t get me wrong: it was nice, especially for my family to see, but as a cop you’re not used to any limelight. The thing I was happiest about was that the guy got 11 years. I turned up at the right time to save that woman’s life.” Despite their historic FA Cup run,

and some eye-catching saves by PC Barnes in front of the live TV cameras, Skelmersdale United were eventually knocked out by Harrogate Town, a team five divisions above them in League 2.

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