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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Cumbria police use Tasers 81 times in year

Tasers were used by police in Cumbria more than 80 times last year – a report has revealed.

Taser photo
Inspector Paul Telford

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has released a review of Taser complaints and incidents from 2004 to 2013.

Nationally, figures have increased year on year from 3,128 in 2009 to 10,380 last year. During that time the number of IPCC referrals has increased from 59 to 154 incidents. In Cumbria they were used 81 times in 2013.

From 2005, when the devices were introduced in Cumbria, up until 2010 they were used a total of 114 times, and from March 2011 to August 2012 they were used a total of 139 times.

Inspector Paul Telford, of Cumbria police’s Firearms Operation Unit, said: “Taser use is governed by clear guidance and policy. It is used only where officers need to protect others or themselves from serious harm.

“The stats show that the constabulary continues to use Tasers responsibly and only where necessary and justified in law. The 81 reported uses include occasions where a Taser has been drawn and a person warned, or where it has been aimed but not discharged. It remains the case that a Taser is only actually fired in Cumbria in about a quarter of the reported uses. A Taser is only issued to selected and specially trained individuals, who undertake annual refresher training and who are continually assessed for suitability.”

The report states forces should work to address the number of times Tasers are used and has raised concerns about a growing use of the devices.

In 2011 Dale Burns was Tasered by police four times after they were called to his flat in Barrow after an officer feared for his safety. The 27-year-old dad-of-two died in hospital but an inquest ruled he did not die as a result of being Tasered.

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