COUNCIL leader Stephen McCabe has raised concerns about Tasers being used by police on the streets.

The Tele revealed yesterday how armed response vehicles and officers using Tasers could be introduced in Inverclyde as early as May.

Police chiefs have enthusiastically backed the move and say it will help protect the public and officers.

But Councillor McCabe says the force will have to be careful to strike the right balance.

Mr McCabe said: “Will it change the nature of policing?

“It’s a fine line between feeling comforted or feeling alarmed.

“It could potentially change people’s perceptions of the police and change the environment in which they operate.

“We don’t want to go down the American route, it hasn’t been part of our culture.

“I think it would be a retrograde step to go too far in that direction.”

Cllr McCabe stressed he wasn’t automatically opposed to the carrying of Tasers by police and said that he understood the pressure officers are under.

He said: “I can understand how the police feel in terms of Tasers.

“It makes their officers feel safe but they do need to be used responsibly and only when they are absolutely necessary.

“Police officers have to be appropriately trained and know when to use them.”

Inverclyde Chief Superintendent Gordon Crossan says there are 500 armed response officers across the country who are potentially available to step in and attend calls if local officers were overstretched.

Councillor McCabe said: “There are 500 of these officers not being used as productively as they could be, and are sitting around most of the time.

“This will give them a visible presence on the street but they must strike the right balance.”