CALLS have been made for frontline officers to carry electronic “guns”.

Earlier this year, police officers throughout the region revealed in a survey that they felt all officers should have access to the electronic gadgets to help them deal with violent offenders.

In August, after a spate of attacks on officers, the Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones agreed that officers should have access to Tasers.

The Home Office has said it is a decision for chief constables to make, and in an interview in the current edition of Your Voice - the Police Federation newsletter - Carl Foulkes, who took over as Chief Constable of North Wales in November, said that while it is easy for politicians to make such a statement no extra money has been made available.

“I do think there will be a point – I genuinely do – that Taser will be PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) for all our staff in the future,” he said.

He sees it as “probably the next step”, in the same way that body armour, Casco batons, , rigid handcuffs and spit guards are now standard issue, having replaced chain link handcuffs and wooden truncheons.

Mr Foulkes says he faces a challenge in balancing the issues of officer protection and the budget.

“It’s cheaper to buy a handgun than it is to buy a Taser at the moment, which does seem a bit of a nonsense,” he commented.

In the interview with Mark Jones, secretary of the North Wales Police Federation, the new Chief also reveals that the Force needs more up-to-date technology.

The issue was highlighted for him when he accompanied a “fantastic” Wrexham response officer while preparing to take over in charge.

“I had my Pronto device (an electronic notebook) from Merseyside, I could do online Niche (records management), I could do online statements, I could do online stop/ and search, I could access loads of different apps; they were walking around with a notepad and a stop/search form,” he said.

“We need to move that on so, for me, it’s improving the technology that our staff have out on the frontline to do their job more efficiently and effectively.”

On the question of police officers having to deal with a growing number of non-crime matters, Mr Foulkes says that 75 percent to 90 percent of their time is now focused on vulnerability and other issues instead of pure crime and he has already met the chief executive of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to discuss how they can work together more efficiently.

“When you look at the repeat caller, for example, you see people who have called us between 200 and 300 times, but also contacted the health board between 200 and 300 times and the fire service the same amount. We need to solve the problem together to reduce some of that demand,” he added.