THE number of Kent police officers trained to use Taser guns is set to almost treble.

Special training for 196 officers will take place in the next six months enabling them to provide round-the-clock cover across the county.

This brings the total number of trained officers to around 300.

Police say research found the specialist equipment, which fires an electrical charge, significantly reduced violence towards officers.

Kent police's assistant chief constable Andy Adams said: “During the time Kent police has used Taser, it has become clear that they are a highly effective in violent or potentially dangerous situations.

“Often, just the presence of officers carrying and drawing Taser is enough of a deterrent to a volatile or violent individual resisting arrest to make them surrender to police.”

Between December 2008 and January 4 this year, Tasers have been fired eight times in Kent.

Kent police’s head of firearms Chief Inspector Tim Cook said: “The extension of Taser is a welcome addition to our ability to respond to incidents of violence, and protect our staff and the public of Kent.”