Suffolk police defend their use of Tasers after nine-fold increase

SUFFOLK police have defended their use of Tasers after offices fired the weapon 18 times last year – compared to twice the previous year.

The nine-fold increase follows a nationwide pattern in the usage of Tasers, which has grown by an average of 130pc.

The 18 occasions in which Suffolk officers fired Tasers during 2010/11 also equated to more than the combined total for the previous six years.

Jonathan Ford, a force spokesman, said: 'Our priority is to support officers working on the front line. Taser is an effective tool designed to diffuse high risk situations and for dealing with violent people to secure a safe arrest where necessary.

'In certain circumstances, its use can be more appropriate than conventional firearms in resolving dangerous situations safely and without injury to any person. The mere threat of its use can be sufficient to deter assailants and ensure a peaceful resolution of the incident.'

New figures from 40 of the 43 forces in England and Wales show two-thirds of them fired the weapon 'significantly more' last year compared to the year before.

They were used a total 1,533 times last year, compared with 862 times in 2009 - an increase of 70pc.

Most Read

Sophie Khan, a Solicitor Advocate at GT Stewart, who represents clients who claim they have been unfairly Tasered, said: 'It is very much the officer thinking this is something new they can use and without any kind of risk of consequences.'

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter