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Taser use is on the rise in Hampshire
5:00pm Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
A CONTROVERSIAL method for using Tasers is on the rise in Hampshire – although overall use of the weapon has fallen.
Police officers employed Tasers in ‘drive-stun’ – thrusting it against the body to inflict pain, without firing the cartridge – on six occasions last year.
That was a rise from just two uses in 2011, according to official figures from the Hampshire force.
The police watchdog is currently carrying out a review into the deployment of Tasers in ‘drive-stun’ and forces are being told to cut that use.
The campaign group Amnesty International has criticised the possible “abuse” of Tasers as “pain compliance” tools, often when people are already effectively in custody.
In Hampshire, the number of occasions on which Tasers were fired fell to 16 last year, from 21 in 2011 – having risen from 18 occasions the previous year.
And the number of deployments without discharge is also in decline, from 105 in 2010 to 64 in 2011 and 63 in 2012.
That record is in stark contrast to England and Wales as a whole, where deployments leapt from 6,649 in 2010 to 7,877 in 2011. No figure is available for 2012.
Chief Inspector Karen Scipio said that Tasers had “proven to be extremely effective as resolving violence or conflict safely and swiftly”.
She added: “These statistics show that just drawing the device is often enough to defuse the situation, at a distance.”
Hampshire Police has said that it expects the use of Tasers to rise next year, as it equips more officers with the weapon.
But Amnesty International UK’s director Kate Allen said that she had serious concerns over the lack of training for ordinary officers being handed the weapons.
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