Police officers are being given new equipment to stop criminals in car chases.

Stop Stick devices, also known as stingers, are placed in the path of vehicles to puncture tyres and stop those involved in a getaway.

The equipment had only previously been used by Sussex Police’s road policing unit and tactical firearms teams – but bosses have now armed neighbourhood response teams with 40 of the devices.

Officers are undergoing special training to use the devices and will carry them whenever they are called out to jobs – instead of having to request them from other units.

Inspector Phil Nicholas said: “We have bought another 40 Stop Stick devices so that they can be used when they are needed anywhere in the county without the need for specialist teams to be brought in, which can take time.

“When suspects are being pursued they can put pedestrians and other people on the road in danger by driving erratically or at high speed to get away from officers.

“We want to prevent that and using Stop Sticks allows us to slow down a suspect’s vehicle quickly. They have proved very effective in reducing the length of pursuits or even preventing them from happening at all by stopping vehicles.”

Sussex Police told The Argus each Stop Stick cost £500 – meaning the force’s new gadgets cost £20,000.

Inspector Nicholas added: “For a relatively small cost we hope to slow down and stop criminals who are driving around the county, which will help to make the roads of Sussex safer for everyone.”

A police spokesman said officers will only use Stop Sticks on occasions when they are unlikely to put the driver or other people at risk.

Stop Sticks were used twice in the first six months of 2014 in Sussex.