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22 July 2014, 06:00
The independent police complaints commission say there's been a 'significant' rise in their use over the past 10 years In the last year in Surrey, 178 people were tasered - while in Sussex it was 164
All Armed Response Officers in Surrey are equipped with Tasers and in 2009 this was extended to include a selected number of other officers who are first-responders to incidents across the county.
Police officers are highly trained in the use of Taser and any deployment is made following an independent assessment at the scene of an incident based on the threat to the public, officers or the individual concerned.
Tasers can be effective as a deterrent in potentially violent situations and the majority of cases are successfully resolved by the device either being drawn or pointed at a suspect without the need for it to be discharged.
Incidents where the weapons were discharged are primarily where subjects are threatening use of a knife or other weapons, or cases where someone is causing physical harm to other members of the public, to police officers, or to themselves.
Chief Superintendent Paul Morrison, of Surrey and Sussex Police Operations Command, said: "Surrey Police was one of the first Forces in the south east to extend the roll-out of Taser trained officers wider than firearms units and therefore would expect usage numbers per 100 officers to be slightly higher.
"Officers are often faced with difficult and potentially violent situations where the safety of the public, officers and individuals involved must be the priority.
"Taser is a lower level of force than other methods including a police baton and has become an important tool for officers to resolve potentially dangerous incidents, the vast majority of the time without the need for the weapon to be fired.
?Of the occasions they were deployed in Surrey during 2013, they were drawn 46 times without the need to even be aimed and were fired a total of 25 times which shows how much of a deterrent they can be.
"The use of these devices is subject to a high degree of scrutiny and each deployment is recorded and looked at as part of post incident procedures, regardless of whether it was discharged, to ensure its use was appropriate."