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MORE police in Oxfordshire are to be armed with Tasers, it was announced today.

Officers concerned for their own safety lobbied Chief Constable Sara Thornton last year over in response to increasing levels of violence or threat of harm to beat police.

The force said today the total number of officers within Thames Valley trained to use Tasers would increase by 280 to 485.

It first issued Tasers in 2004, and currently only firearms officers are permitted to carry and use the devices.

Assistant Chief Constable John Campbell, who is responsible for tactical support, said it would provide further protection to the communities and officers across Thames Valley.

Chief Constable Sara Thornton said: “Officers will be specially selected and trained for this role and I am satisfied that the continued use of the Taser device across the Force area will only be considered in those cases where it is necessary and proportionate to the behaviour the officers encounter.

"As Chief Constable I have a responsibility to ensure that my officers are equipped to do the difficult job I ask of them. It is right that we have increased the availability of Tasers in line with other forces and we will keep our approach under review."

Over the past three years the total number of Taser deployments has increased from 795 in 2010, to 842 in 2011 and 936 in 2012.