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Massive rise in police taser use
THE use of tasers by North Yorkshire Police has rocketed in two years, a new report has shown.
Figures released by The Home Office showed North Yorkshire Police used tasers nine times in 2009, but that increased to 125 times in 2010, and 159 times in 2011 – a rise of 1,666 per cent over the three years.
Insp Steve Breen, who heads North Yorkshire Police’s Firearms Support Unit, said the increase was largely due to the phased roll-out of the weapon and the increasing number of officers available to use them.
Insp Breen said: “The nature of police work means that officers are regularly called to deal with violent and dangerous situations when there is a risk of harm to the subject, members of the public or the police themselves and a taser is a valuable tool used to bring incidents to a safe conclusion.
“More often than not, the sight of the taser being drawn or aimed is enough to diffuse a situation – an indication that officers are engaging with the subject and only fire the taser when all other options have not worked or were not likely to work.”
New figures from North Yorkshire Police showed tasers were used 106 times in 2012, of which 21 were fired by officers, and eight were used in the “drive stun” – where officers use the taser’s charge without firing the projectiles to encourage the target to comply without incapacitating them.
Insp Breen said: “In the 18 months to June 30, 2013, a taser was drawn in North Yorkshire on 181 occasions but was fired in just 21 per cent (39) of these incidents.
“Taser use is subject to a high degree of oversight and scrutiny at all levels and all uses are recorded and reported to the Home Office. Our specially trained non-firearms officers receive the same training in the use of taser as authorised firearms officers.”
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