LEWISHAM police have started carrying Tasers in the borough.

Four response team officers per shift will be equipped with the weapon, while 40 police have been given training on their use.

The Met says it is part of a gradual roll-out where all London boroughs will have two Taser-equipped vehicles available to respond to violent incidents.

Superintendent Michael Gallagher of Lewisham police said: "The deployment of Taser is for the protection of the public and police officers and to safely defuse situations involving violent individuals.

"It is one of a number of items of equipment available to a small number of police officers on the borough as a potential option to manage incidents involving violent people.

"This will be used alongside the baton and CS spray which is carried by all trained operational front line officers.

"Taser is often less harmful to offenders than striking them with an asp or using CS spray and it is a less lethal option than using a firearm.

"It is the police officer's decision as to what equipment to use to remedy any given situation and they must justify its use."