POLICE officers equipped with Tasers could be on the streets of Inverclyde as soon as May.

A change of tactics will also include the deployment of officers in armed response vehicles to attend incidents and disarm attackers, if needed.

Chief Superintendent Gordon Crossan says he fully supports the measures.

The senior officer says the use of the devices — which fire two small dart-like electrodes to deliver an electric current which disrupts voluntary control of a person’s muscles — will help protect the law-abiding public and officers.

He outlined the move to use them at a meeting of the local police and fire scrutiny sub-committee.

He said: “We have 500 police officers in Scotland who are dedicated armed response officers.

“We get very few firearm incidents and this started a discussion that these 500 firearm officers could be in our community doing good.”

The senior officer added that the same number of officers had been trained to use a Taser and they will also be deployed in Inverclyde if local officers are tied up elsewhere.

The area commander says he fully welcomes the move — revealing that an officer had been hit with a samurai sword while attending an incident last year.

Ch Supt Crossan said: “My responsibility is to protect the public and my staff.

“If this officer had had a Taser that [the assault] wouldn’t have happened. I welcome it.

“Not all officers want it and there won’t be 24/7 coverage of Tasers in Inverclyde.”

The chief superintendent says that Tasers give officers vital time to engage with armed criminals and get them to put their weapons down.

He said: “We have to stop them as quickly as we can.

“There is also a visual deterrent, as the Taser operators put a dot on the body before it is used.”

Ch Supt Crossan wants to reassure the public about the use of the devices and told the Telegraph that officers using them would be highly trained.

He said: “Officers have to apply to get a Taser.

“They must have three years service and undergo a rigorous training programme and every time we employ a Taser it is fully reviewed.”