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Use of police stun guns on the increase in York and North Yorkshire
POLICE in York and North Yorkshire are using high-voltage stun guns to shoot or warn more people than ever before, new figures have revealed.
Tasers fire two darts, delivering a 50,000-volt electric charge through the target, paralysing him or her for five seconds.
Figures, revealed in a Freedom of Information request, showed they were used by North Yorkshire officers 94 times in 2011/12.
That is more than three times than in 2009/10.
While there are no figures available for 2010/11, in 2009/10 tasers were used 28 times and 43 times in 2008/09.
A force 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 through communication, and on many occasions this is the case. But in some instances, officers need to take further action to prevent harm to the public, police officers and in some cases, the offender.” Tasers look like a fluorescent pistol and use compressed air to fire two darts that trail an electric cable back to the handset.
When the darts strike, the charge is released down the cable, which causes the suspect’s muscles to contract uncontrollably. Earlier this year The Press revealed how a fugitive wanted in Poland on charges of robbery and theft was tasered and arrested by police in York city centre. Tomasz Furmaniak, 30, was arrested in Swinegate by a team of officers from North Yorkshire Police, after he was spotted drinking in a bar.
Police have also revealed figures on other weapons used by officers in violent situations.
In 2011/12, officers used batons 41 times compared with 59 in 2009/10 and 46 in 2008/09, a firearms six times compared with 13 in 2009/10 and 20in 2008/09 and incapacitating spray 147 times, compared with 218 in 2009/10 and 225 in 2008/09.