Taser was used 300 times by West Yorkshire Police officers in 2013 – which is a Taser use per 100 officers of 6, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has said.
Overall in 2013 there were 10,380 discharges of Taser across England and Wales, of which 154 were referred to the IPCC. In 2009 there were 3,128 discharges with 59 referrals relating to the weapon.
In roughly eight out of 10 cases over the years, Taser has not been fired because a suspect complies with an order after seeing it unholstered, commonly known as “red dotting.”
Fifteen of the complaints related to “drive stun” incidents. The police watchdog has raised concerns over police officers in England and Wales using Tasers at point-blank range.
In its report – “IPCC review of Taser complaints and incidents 2004-2013” – the organisation said Staffordshire Police had the highest use per 100 officers, with cops using Taser 33 times for every 100 officers in 2013.
IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts said: “The IPCC has always accepted that there are legitimate reasons for using Taser in policing and that it can be a valuable tool in assisting police officers to manage difficult and challenging situations.
“However, in light of the significant increase in Taser use, it is important to ensure that the device is being used appropriately and not as a default choice where other tactical options, including communication, could be effective.
“For that reason, it is very important that each individual use can be justified and that forces closely analyse the extent and type of use.”
Tasers were introduced into British policing in 2003 as a non-lethal alternative for firearms officers facing potentially dangerous suspects.
Each force now has officers who can be authorised to use them in a wider range of situations.
Date posted: July 31, 2014