TASERS have been used in police incidents involving more than 40 under-18s by North Yorkshire Police in the last five years.

Figures released by police have shown 42 instances of Tasers being used by officers in incidents involving young people between 2008 and 2013, with the youngest person being just 14-years-old.

Police use of a Taser can be measured in several ways, and while there were 42 instances of the weapons being used, they were only fired six times in five years, and used to stun only once. The other instances include the weapons being aimed, or the 'red dot' targeting of youths, including the 14-year-old.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "The use of a Taser is one of a number of tactical options available to an officer who is faced with violence or the threat of violence.

"Its purpose is to temporarily incapacitate an individual in order to control and neutralise the threat that they pose. Police hope any violent incident will be resolved though communication but in some instances officers need to take further action to prevent harm to the public, police officers and some cases, the offender.

"In many situations, the sight or threat of a Taser is enough to calm a situation as is demonstrated by the figures for North Yorkshire."

The spokesman said there was one incident in 2013 when the red dot function on the Taser was used "whilst giving warnings to a 15 year old individual", but "the Taser itself was never fired due to the individual being compliant to the warnings given".

Last September, The Press reported how the use of Tasers by North Yorkshire Police had increased from nine times in 2009 to 159 times in 2011 - an increase of 1,666 per cent in three years.

They were also used 106 times in 2012, and 181 times in the 18 months to June 30, 2013, but fired in only about 21 per cent of the incidents. The rise was said to be due to the widespread introduction of the weapon across the force.