Police in West Yorkshire used force 16,000 times last year

West Yorkshire Police fires Tasers 64 times last year, new figures show
West Yorkshire Police fires Tasers 64 times last year, new figures show
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Police in West Yorkshire used force more than 16,000 times in the past year - including firing Tasers 64 times.

The force released the statistics this morning for the past year revealing that they aimed firearms at suspects 148 times and used irritant PAVA spray - similar to pepper spray - on 599 occasions.

Spit guards were used 132 times (archive pic)

Spit guards were used 132 times (archive pic)

Dogs were deployed on 49 occasions between April 2017 and March 31 - and people were bitten 11 times.

Tasers - which deliver a 50,000-volt shock to incapacitate a suspect - were fired 64 times, but were used in "drawn, aimed or red dot mode" 446 times

Spit guards were used 132 times and batons 52 times. Data also shows that police staff were physically injured 856 times.

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

He said: "Keeping people safe across West Yorkshire sometimes means police officers intervene in dangerous or complex situations.

"On some occasions police officers have to use force to protect the public and protect themselves from harm.

"Force can mean for example, a form of restraint, handcuffing or use of PAVA spray.

"Our officers are trained to use the minimum level of force required to resolve an incident quickly and efficiently."

On 10,393 occasions tactical communication sufficed.

Mr Kingsman said: "It is pleasing to note that the vast majority of instances never require force to be used and tactical communication and compliant handcuffing are usually enough.

"Of those injured when force by police has been used, over 99% only suffered minor injuries.

"Police officers put themselves in harm’s way 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year."

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said the new approach to releasing data added "a further layer of transparency and accountability."

He said: "It is encouraging to see that tactical communication is used to resolve the greatest proportion of situations in West Yorkshire and indicates the high levels of professionalism that officers are demonstrating locally in the face of often difficult and challenging situations."