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Use of Taser slightly up in West Yorkshire Police

Taser use at West Yorkshire Police has increased slightly over the past six months.

The less-lethal weapon was used 155 times between January and June this year, compared with 154 times the previous six months.

This marks a slight increase year-on-year, as Taser was used 309 times over the past 12 months, compared with 308 times the year before at West Yorkshire, according to Home Office statistics released this week.

Taser can be used in seven capacities: the “highest” being fired with a live cartridge; then moving down the scale from angled drive stun, drive stun, red dot, arcing, aimed and drawn – the “lowest” use.

The increase at West Yorkshire Police is in line with the national trend; Taser was used 5,107 times between January 2014 and June by all forces in England and Wales, an increase on the previous six months. Of these – non-discharges accounted for 81 per cent.

The ‘red dot’ – whereby the Taser is drawn and pointed at the subject but not fired – accounted for the most common use at 52 per cent over the six-month period. Officers say this method is an extremely effective deterrent. Drive stun and angle drive stun – where the trigger is pulled – accounted for just 3 per cent of overall use.

The use of Taser has increased every year since 2009 as the rollout and deployment of taser took place across police forces in England and Wales – from 3,128 uses per year to 10,380.

The Home Secretary gave additional funding to support an extension to the roll-out of Taser, which resulted in the procurement of around 5500 more Tasers for distribution to all forces in England and Wales.

Commander Neil Basu, ACPO’s National Policing Lead for Taser, said: “Officers who are selected to carry Taser have a proven track record of policing. Taser is not a panacea to all occasions when police officers need to use force and will only be used in situations where officers face violence or the threat of violence.

“Once again, the most frequent use of the device (52 per cent) is the use of the red-dot laser sight used to aim the Taser at a subject, while non-discharge uses (where the device is not fired), account for around three quarters of uses between 2009 and 2012 and 81 per cent of uses in the last six months. This speaks volumes about the extensive and consistent training received by those officers selected as having the competencies necessary to carry a Taser – training which is recognised as being among the most stringent in the world and which comes with rigorous individual accountability.”

Date posted: October 24, 2014

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