Dale Farm: Traveller Site Police Used Tasers

7 March 2012, 11:03 | Updated: 7 March 2012, 11:08

Police officers used Tasers five times and arrested 45 people during the clearance of the UK's largest illegal travellers' site, a new report has revealed.

Essex Police today published the report outlining its operation to assist Basildon Council in the clearance of Dale Farm last October.

The report states: "There were seven officers deployed with Taser, all of which were Essex Police officers.

"Two did not use their Tasers at all during the operation.

"There were five uses of Taser during the operation. Two were discharges (firing) against the same individual, who was wielding a plank of wood with a nail driven through it at officers.

"There were three other uses of Taser, all of which were 'red dots' (aimed but not fired).''

During the operation, the force issued a statement justifying the use of Tasers, saying: "Officers reacted and used their personal protective equipment to prevent further attack.''

The force said there had been no complaints about the use of Tasers during the clearance, dubbed Operation Cabinet.

Officers arrested 45 people during the operation, which began on October 19.

Of these, 35 were arrested for obstructing a bailiff and the majority are still awaiting prosecution, the report adds.

The remainder have been charged with offences ranging from public order offences to assault by beating and resisting an officer.

The report lists how #2.4 million of police funding was spent, largely on officer costs.

At the peak of the operation, 308 officers were involved, including those brought in from the Metropolitan Police, Thames Valley, Avon and Somerset, Kent, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire under mutual aid arrangements.

It goes on to outline injuries suffered by 15 police officers during the clearance.

These included a nail in the hand suffered by one officer while removing a barricade and cuts to the throat of another who was hit with a "lump of wood with exposed nails''.

The report adds: "Essex Police received 41 messages expressing support for the police action and 34 negative contacts expressing their concern.''

The total cost of the clearance was £7 million, with Basildon Council spending £4.8 million.

The clearance, which resulted in violent clashes, followed a decade-long row over unauthorised plots on the six-acre site.

Basildon Council is currently considering fresh enforcement action on a neighbouring legal site at Oak Lane.

It says Dale Farm residents moved to this site, exceeding its authorised capacity.