VOLUNTEER police officers in Cheshire are to be the first in the north west be equipped with Tasers.

Experienced special constables with Cheshire Police will soon be given the opportunity to apply to be trained in using a Taser.

The force will become the seventh in the country to equip their volunteer officers with the devices.

Cheshire's special constabulary supports full-time frontline officers, including responding to emergency incidents and at busy events such as Creamfields.

The force currently has around 170 volunteer special police officers, many of whom have been in post for over a decade, who help keep the county's streets even safer.

But despite volunteer officers having the same powers as their full-time counterparts, they have not been authorised to carry a Taser until a change in legislation in May last year.

The officers will only be issued with device after they meet stringent College of Policing and Home Office requirements.

Training will be intense over four days and covers how to use the device safely and correctly, with annual refresher courses also required.

Special constabulary chief officer Leon Boland said: “The special constabulary plays a huge part in day-to-day policing here in Cheshire.

“It gives more than 5,000 hours a month as our volunteers regularly dedicate incredible amounts of their own time to maintain public and police safety.

“Our volunteer police officers are professional, highly skilled and trained volunteers who want to give back to their community in a unique way.

“Specials often attend emergency incidents first, putting themselves in danger alongside full-time officers to protect people in our community.

“The Taser is an important tool available to us in policing, and we want to assure the public that our volunteer officers will, quite rightly, be expected to undergo the same rigorous training as their full-time counterparts before they have access.

Assistant chief constable Bill Dutton added: “We are able to select the appropriately experienced officers and equip them in this way to give them greater skills to protect the public and themselves from danger.

“Over the last 12 months, the support and involvement our volunteer officers receive has increased significantly, and we are able to involve them across a broader range of policing challenges, every day.”

The force will be recruiting more special constables, and applications are currently open to anyone who may be interested in the role.

To apply, or to find out more before the deadline of November 14 for a March start, visit cheshire.police.uk/police-forces/cheshire-constabulary/areas/cheshire/careers/careers/special-constables/