The use of Tasers by Derbyshire police has increased by over 60 per cent in the last five years, new Government figures have revealed.
The police electro-shock weapons were used 85 times between 2013 and 2014 – compared to 52 occasions when they were introduced in 2009.
Derbyshire Constabulary has defended its use of the guns – but human rights organisations have voiced fears over the “potentially lethal” weapons.
Assistant chief constable Gary Knighton, of Derbyshire Constabulary, said: “Members of the public and officers are sometimes subjected to violence or threats of violence where the use of a Taser is considered by the police.
“A Taser will only be authorised for deployment by an inspector when the threat to the public or officers is justified.
“We specially train a small number of officers to use Tasers and every Taser deployment is reviewed to ensure that the use was appropriate.
“The number of times that Tasers are deployed and fired is very low compared to the number of incidents officers are called to each year. Officers will always seek to resolve an incident without resorting to the use of a Taser.”
Nationally, the Home Office data shows that Taser use quadrupled in the past five years.
A spokesman for Amnesty International said: “Tasers are potentially lethal and they should be considered in the same breath as a firearm.”
But the spokesman added: “We’re not against Tasers if used by specially-trained police officers trying to prevent a death or a serious injury.”
Tasers can generate 50,000 volts but, according to the Association of Chief Police Officers, that drops to a peak of 1,200 when travelling across the human body. The jolt stuns the target by causing an uncontrollable contraction of the muscle tissue. The target is immobilised and falls to the ground. Taser stands for ‘Thomas A Swift Electric Rifle’. It is named after a series of children’s science fiction novels written in the early 20th century featuring the young genius inventor Tom Swift.