14/08/2014 16:50 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

UK Police Use Tasers On Children As Young As 11

Figures show that the police Taser children as yong as 12

Newly released figures reveal that the police have used Taser guns on at least 194 children under the age of 16 in the past three years.

The statistics have been uncovered by investigative agency OpenWorld News, who say that at least 24 of the children were actually shot by the Taser and subjected to an electric shock of up to 50,000 volts.

Their findings also show that at least six children were 'drive-stunned' by Tasers – where the electric device is held directly against the body, while another 97 children were 'red dotted', with officers pointing the Taser and pinpointing where the barbs would hit their body.

The agency have released details taken from police records explaining why the Tasers were used in various situations.

One involved a 12-year-girl in St Helens by Merseyside, who was Tasered by police after she armed her herself with two knives and was threatening to self-harm.

In another case, a pair of 11-year-old knife-carrying boys were targeted by red laser dots from a Taser in Crewe, while in Gwent, a 14-year-old suspected burglar armed with a screwdriver was shot by officers.

Tasers were introduced in 2004, and are now increasingly being carried by police officers.

The Daily Mail reports that children's charities and human rights organisations are worried by the use of Tasers on young people, saying they should only ever be used as a last resort.

The Home Office has been advised by an independent scientific body that Tasers are more likely to cause heart problems in children.

In a report titled Medical Implications of Less-Lethal Weapons, published in the Association of Chief Police Officers' Taser guidelines, it notes that 'children and adults of smaller stature' are 'potentially' at greater risk from 'the cardiac effects of Taser currents than normal adults of average or larger stature'.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Penelope Gibbs from the Standing Committee for Youth Justice said the findings were 'really shocking'.

"The number of incidents indicate that the police are not using other techniques to calm potentially vulnerable or disturbed teenagers," she said.