Five Fold Increase In The Use Of Tasers

The use of stun guns by police officers in England and Wales more than doubled over two years.

But here in Devon and Cornwall the figure has increased five fold. 

The use of Tasers rose from a combined total of 53 deployments in 2009, to 166 in 2010 and 289 in 2011, Home Office figures revealed. 

In 2011 tasers were fired by officers a total of 70 times, and they were drawn with a red dot appearing on a person 140 times. 

This compares to 2009 when they were fired 12 times and red dots appearing on a person 29 times. 

In April this year Andrew Pimlott died after being burned when he doused himself in flammable liquid and was then hit by a Taser outside his Plymouth home. 

Director of Amnesty International UK Kate Allen warned stun guns are "not a modern truncheon'' and said only small numbers of officers should be trained in their use. 

She said: "A Taser doesn't just give a little tingle - it's a potentially lethal 50,000-volt weapon and should not be spoken of as some sort of 'natural progression' of the standard policing kit.'' 

But President of the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales Irene Curtis said the stun guns can mean fewer officers and members of the public are hurt.