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Home Office releases Taser use figures

New 'use of Taser' statistics further prove the effectiveness of the less than lethal weapon, says the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW).

The Home Office released the Police use of TASER X26 conducted energy devices statistics, England and Wales, covering the period from 1 January to 31 December 2016 last week.

The figures reveal that Taser was used in a total of 90 incidents in Leicestershire last year but it was only actually discharged 12 times, the fourth lowest figure when compared with the other 42 forces across England and Wales. It was third lowest behind Northamptonshire (8 times) and Nottinghamshire (10 times) of the five forces in the East Midlands region.

Che Donald, lead on Taser for the PFEW, said the figures show the use of Taser is mostly static.

"There has been a fall in the number of times Taser was discharged, which demonstrates that each use of Taser is proportionate to the manner and threats faced by officers," he said.

"More than 80 per cent of uses were non-discharges - with the number of red-dot uses making up more than half of all Taser usage. This shows that by virtue of possession of a Taser, police officers are gaining compliance of members of the public. This is further evidence that greater roll-out of Taser across the service would be beneficial."

Che said while there was a small increase in overall use of Taser (nine per cent), this was likely due to the uplift in firearms officers nationwide, and a number of forces increasing the number of officers they have trained in the use of Taser.

He added that although the Home Office had approved the new X2 Taser model, as yet there had been no roll-out in any forces.

"Forces have been waiting a long time for the sign-off, and now need to find the funds to not only purchase the new kit, but ensure that each officer is given full and comprehensive training.

"Officers do a tough and dangerous job, and with the number of assaults on emergency service workers becoming clearer it is essential that police be given the right tools to protect themselves and the public."