West Yorkshire Taser use falls 40 per cent...but national figure rises
Officers across the country deployed the weapons, where electrical current is used to disable suspects, 7,877 times in 2011 compared to 6,649 in 2010 and 3,128 in 2009, according to Home Office figures released yesterday.
But West Yorkshire Police says the number of deployments by its officers has dropped by nearly 40 per cent since then, from 565 incidents in 2011 to 341 in 2012.
In only a fifth of these instances were the tasers actually fired, as the majority saw the weapons raised or a red laser dot pointed at the target as a warning.
Tasers have become widely used by police across the country in recent years. Until 2007, only specially-trained firearms officers were authorised to carry the weapons.
But more officers were allowed to use them following a 12-month trial in West Yorkshire and nine other forces.
West Yorkshire Police’s assistant chief constable Mark Milsom said the force took the responsibility “extremely seriously” and that “it is scrutinised at every level”.
He said: “Senior officers review the circumstances following every use of Taser to identify any issues or lessons to be learned. It is this approach which is ensuring we are only using Taser when we need to and this has seen a general reduction in its use.”
Of the four Yorkshire forces, only South Yorkshire Police used Tasers on fewer occasions in the second half of 2011 than the same six months in 2010.