POLICE use of tasers increased over the three years between 2010 and 2012, according to new information obtained by the Lancashire Telegraph.

According to the data, tasers were fired 40 times in 2010, 54 in 2011 and 55 in 2012.

And up until the end of July, the devices had been fired 33 times this year. The information, released following a Freedom of Information request, also revealed the total number of times a taser had been deployed in the past three years.

They were involved in 597 instances between January 1, 2011 and July 31, 2013, compared with 655 incidents between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012.

This year, six tasers were fired on people who had attempted to harm themselves, up from two people in 2012.

A further six were fired on people who were known to be suffering from mental health issues.

Two men who were tasered twice.

Other reasons for firing tasers included not paying for a taxi fare upon arrival at the destination and a ‘spontaneous firing on a violent male’.

Section H forms are required to be completed each time a taser is deployed on an operation, regardless of whether it is fired or not.

Inspector Mark Baines said: “Officers are able to deploy taser in operations or incidents where they are facing violence, or threats of violence, of such severity that they would need to use force to protect the public, themselves or the subject.

“Lancashire Constabulary has a clear policy on the deployment and use of taser and the decision to utilise it is taken by specially trained officers who receive a yearly refresher course in its use.

“Although figures show there has been a year on year increase in the number of times taser has been fired, the increase is fairly marginal.

“When you consider the number of incidents that officers are deployed to with a taser in comparison to how many times it is actually fired, it demonstrates that our officers are more often than not able to resolve these violent and confrontational incidents, often where the offender has a weapon, without the need to actually fire the taser.”