A REVIEW into the use of Tasers by police has shown an increase in complaints about the devices.
A report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission released today said Tasers present a lower risk than CS spray, physical restraint or a baton, but Taser use and complaints about Taser use had increased year on year.
Statistics included in the report showed a total of 157 uses by North Yorkshire Police in 2013 - 11 uses per 100 officers - while in Humberside, there were 462 uses - 25 uses per 100 officers.
The IPCC recommends "the frequency and type of Taser use, and its justification on each occasion, should be carefully monitored and analysed by forces and Police and Crime Commissioners", and said an in-depth study was underway on use of the devices by all forces.
The report said: "There is a risk, given the increase in Taser use, that police officers could become increasingly reliant on using force to gain compliance.
"Monitoring helps to ensure that Taser is not being used too readily and too often by particular police officers or teams. Police and Crime Commissioners (and any local policing ethics committees), should review data around Taser use for their police force and for most similar forces to enable them to identify reasons for any significant differences."
Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy, of North Yorkshire Police, said the devices were only fired 38 times in North Yorkshire in 2013, with suspects often complying before such action was needed. He also said he was satisfied they were being proportionately by the force.
ACC Kennedy said: "Taser is an extremely useful tactical option which is available to the police when faced with violent and dangerous situations. It is also a valuable resource when somebody is threatening serious self-harm. Quite rightly, its usage is subject to a high degree of scrutiny to ensure that it is used justifiably and in accordance with the law.
"North Yorkshire Police records all instances of Taser use and I am satisfied that when Taser is drawn by one of our officers it is justifiable and in line with the specialist training they have been given. Training covers the technicalities of handling and using the device and also the circumstances under which it can be lawfully used.
"Taser is a less-lethal option and poses a lower risk to an individual than other tactics available to the police. For this reason, we are training more and more officers to deploy Taser, if it is required to bring an incident to a safe conclusion. I believe that Taser is being used proportionately in North Yorkshire, in correlation to the number of officers who are trained and equipped to use it."