Thames Valley bucks national trend in police Taser use

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Police use of Tasers in the Thames Valley area almost halved between 2010 and 2011, according to statistics from the Home Office.

Tasers were used 65 times by police in 2010, but this number dropped by 42 per cent to just 38 times in 2011.

In the second half of 2011, Tasers were only used 22 times in the Thames Valley area, a decrease of 16 from the same period in the previous year.

The amount of Tasers actually fired is a much closer statistic with 10 fired in 2011 and 12 the year before in 2010.

Nationally Taser use has increased by 18 per cent over the same time period and almost doubled between 2009 to 2011.

In total 7,877 Tasers were used in England and Wales in 2011, an increase on the 6,649 in 2010 and much more than the 3,128 in 2009.

The announcement of the decrease for Thames Valley in 2011 comes just months after the force revealed that its officers were to be given 200 more Tasers for use.

Only authorised firearm trained officers are allowed to carry and use the Tasers which have been in use in the Thames Valley area since 2003, but beginning this year, specially trained units have also been given permission for Taser use.

National policing lead for armed police Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman said: “The percentage of occasions when the Taser is actually fired has not increased since its introduction in 2003 and I believe this is evidence of the extensive and consistent training which the police in the UK have implemented.

“Officers are trained to use Taser to deal with violence or threats of violence and they are individually accountable in law for the amount of force they use.

“Analysis of the figures shows that on average Taser use by these officers is very infrequent. When it is used, on 75 per cent of occasions it is not fired and its mere presence acts as an effective deterrent.”