Police across Yorkshire use Tasers more than 1,000 times in a year, new figures show

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POLICE officers across Yorkshire used force on members of the public nearly 30,000 times in the last year, the first national statistics on the issue have shown.

It includes 232 times where people were Tasered and a further 1,222 times when Tasers were drawn or aimed at someone.

Police in Yorkshire hit people with Tasers 232 tomes in the past year, figures show. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA

Police in Yorkshire hit people with Tasers 232 tomes in the past year, figures show. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA

A ‘use of force’ incident refers to a situation in which a police officer uses any force tactics, ranging from applying handcuffs to using a firearm.

The region’s largest force, West Yorkshire Police, also published its own more detailed data, revealing that its officers aimed firearms at suspects 148 times and used irritant PAVA spray - similar to pepper spray - on 599 occasions. People were bitten by police dogs 11 times.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Kingsman said it was inevitable that of the thousands of calls they received every day, some would require the use of force.

He said: “Of those injured when force by police has been used, over 99 per cent only suffered minor injuries. Police officers put themselves in harm’s way 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. This data set also shows that during the same time staff were physically injured 856 times.”

Meanwhile, Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter said a scrutiny panel he had set up assured him that “force deployed by Humberside Police officers is proportionate and justifiable”.

He said: “On the very rare occasion where force is deemed unjustified, I am assured that Humberside Police deal with it in a robust and transparent manner.”

Across England and Wales, force was used 313,000 times in 2017/18 and in more than a third of instances, the subject was thought to be drunk.

Black people are also more likely to have force used against them by police, especially with firearms and Tasers. Black people in England and Wales experienced 12 per cent of use-of-force incidents, despite accounting for just 3.3 per cent of the population.

Deborah Coles, director of Inquest, a charity that provides advice on deaths in custody and detention, said: “These figures beg questions about discriminatory assumptions and attitudes towards certain groups of people. All restraint has the potential to cause death.”

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), said that although the statistics were in their infancy and did not show “a complete picture”, they were aware of the issue, adding: “As data quality improves it will be the responsibility of police forces to explain why there were disparities.”