December 6 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, September 12, 2013
The use of stun guns by police officers in Suffolk more than trebled over two years, new figures have revealed.
Home Office data showed deployments of Tasers rose from 35 in 2009 to 126 in 2011 in the county, a 260% increase. It peaked in 2010, with 152 deployments.
The revelation has drawn criticism and comes a month after the force defended accusations that it was endangering the public after announcing plans to increase the number of Taser-trained officers from 66 to 161 – an increase of 144%. Tasers are electronic stunning devices used by officers to subdue offenders in dangerous – or potentially dangerous – situations, and provide a less lethal option to the use of firearms.
In 2004 it was agreed to allow chief officers of all police forces in England and Wales to make Taser available to authorised firearms officers.
Suffolk police issued Tasers to authorised firearms officers a year later, allowing specially trained units to use the device in 2008.
Director of Amnesty International UK Kate Allen warned stun guns are “not a modern truncheon” and said only small numbers of officers should be trained in their use.
Sophie Khan, a solicitor advocate specialising in Taser-related injuries at law firm McMillan Williams, said: “The increase needs to be addressed urgently.
“It should be used only when appropriate and against those causing a threat.”
A Suffolk Police spokesman said the use of Tasers was “low” in Suffolk, adding: “It is an effective tool designed to diffuse high risk situations and for dealing with violent people to secure a safe arrest where necessary.”
The President of the Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales Irene Curtis said Tasers mean fewer officers and members of the public are at risk.