20th Sep, 2018

Tasers used 13 times this year

WEST Mercia Police fired their tasers on 13 occasions in the first three months of 2018, according to the latest statistics from the force.

Over the same period, officers also deployed and/or used an incapacitant spray on 80 occasions in their efforts to make an arrest.

Police define use of force tactics as including an officer taking hold of someone’s arm, using handcuffs, deploying a police dog and using a baton, irritant spray, Taser or firearm.

There were 1,299 cases where this was used in some form, however the vast majority of incidents – and West Mercia officers dealt with 59.127 between January and March – no such force was used.

“In all of our interactions we have a duty to act professionally and only use force that is reasonable, justifiable and proportionate for the circumstances,” said a spokesperson.

The statistics show that handcuffs were used 642 times, police dogs were deployed 35 times and five people were bitten by them.

To give an idea of the breadth of cases they dealt with, firearms were aimed on 15 occasions, though no trigger was pulled, while batons were drawn for use 22 times.

The figures also show that of those subject to the use of force, 22 per cent were believed to have some kind of mental health condition.

Over the three months 137 officers were assaulted while the Force received 12 complaints against officers.

“It is important to recognise that each use of force incident involves a unique set of circumstances, with the officer’s decision-making based on a suspect’s actions,” said the spokesperson.

“Throughout any incident our officers continuously reassess the circumstances and adjust their response as appropriate to the evolving situation.”

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