Scotland’s police chief has said he wants a five-fold increase in the number of officers who carry Tasers.
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone told the Scottish Police Authority he would like to see 15% of officers carrying the weapon.
That could mean more than 2,500 officers across Scotland, based on current police numbers.
Mr Livingstone cited his pledge – backed by former justice secretary Humza Yousaf and departing Lord Advocate James Wolffe – to both try to prevent attacks on officers and provide support to those who have been assaulted.
He said: “I have made clear my firm belief that there was a strong operational case for bringing the proportion of Police Scotland officers equipped with Tasers – currently around 3% – closer to the United Kingdom average which sits around 15%.”
Amnesty International Scotland has previously warned that conductive energy devices – known by their brand name Tasers – are “potentially lethal weapons” that should not be routinely used by police.
About 500 armed officers are also due to be provided with body-worn cameras ahead of the Cop26 UN climate summit in Glasgow, Mr Livingstone confirmed.
Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr said Police Scotland are “well behind the curve” on the issue of equipping officers with the technology, describing it as “ridiculous” that most armed officers do not use them.
Arguing there are a “whole host of obvious reasons” such as transparency and use as evidence for the body-worn cameras to be used, he said: “We should have had it years ago, frankly, we’ve been saying for a while that it seems rather ridiculous that our armed officers don’t have it.
“It just doesn’t make any sense to us and there wasn’t the funding provision for it.
“So in advance of Cop26, when the eyes of the world are going to be on us, we knew that we had to prioritise giving body-worn video to our armed officers – 550-odd officers- and then to try and roll it out, subject to funding provision, for every other officer in Scotland.”