Children as young as 10 have been subjected to the ‘use’ of a Taser by Lincolnshire Police, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed.
It is the only force in England and Wales to have ‘used’ the device on someone under 11 during 2012 and 2013 according to the data, which has been supplied by the Home Office.
A Taser uses electrical current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles.
Lincolnshire Police ‘red dotted’ a 10-year-old in June 2012, meaning it pointed a Taser at the child using the red dot targeting system, but did not fire it.
The data also reveals instances of a Taser being drawn or red dotted by the force against two 13-year-olds, one 14-year-old, two 15-year-olds and five 17-year-olds, and being fired by its officers on one 15-year-old and one 17-year-old.
The oldest person to be subjected to the ‘use’ of a Taser by Lincolnshire Police in 2012 and 2013 was aged 78 and had the device fired against them. This is the second oldest person to have had a Taser fired on them in England and Wales in 2012 and 2013 according to the data.
Some of the ages, the Home Office stresses, may be police estimates.
A Home Office spokesman said: “The Home Secretary has been clear that the use of sensitive police powers, such as stop and search, mental health and the use of force, warrant proper accountability and transparency to ensure that they are being used appropriately.
“Taser is an important tactical option to help specially trained police officers resolve potentially violent situations safely, but it is right that its use is subject to the same level of scrutiny.
“That is why the Home Secretary asked Chief Constable David Shaw to lead an in-depth review of the publication of Taser data and other use of force by police officers, to ensure these powers are being used appropriately. The review will present options for publishing data on how Taser is being used, who it is being used on and what the outcomes are.”
Lincolnshire Police has defended its use of the Taser in younger or older age groups, stressing officers are trained to take into account the impact it could have on the individual’s health and that the any use is scrutinised to check it was lawful and justifiable.