David Blunkett Calls For Taser Review After Shocking Figures On Children Released

The man who put stun guns in the hands of British police has called for their use to be questioned following the release of new statistics.

Former Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett called for a review after it was revealed at least 431 children were tasered by police in 2013, according to the Home Office Taser database. This was a 37% increase from 313 in 2012.

Stun guns were drawn on children as young as 11, while the youngest to be fired on was 14 years old. The numbers also showed the oldest person to be tasered was 82.

Tasers fire 50,000 volt electrified darts to incapacitate suspects

The troubling figures were uncovered by a Freedom of Information request made by BBC Radio 5 Live.

Blunkett, who was Home Secretary when the use of Tasers was authorised for police, told the program: "This is a moment, perhaps, to take a step back and to get chief constables and police and crime commissioners together across England and Wales and to say to them, 'Perhaps we can take a further look at who is authorised, in what circumstances, and whether there are alternatives that can be used'.

"I think it's time for a review that incorporates the use of Tasers with advice and support on how to deal with difficult situations. For a youngster, 11 years old, a Taser is not in my view an appropriate way of dealing with a situation which clearly must have been out of hand, but where we need to train people to use much more traditional alternatives."

The Home Office has not released Taser statistics broken down by age before and warns that they are not wholly reliable because some recorded ages may be police estimates

The actual figure may be higher than the 431 quoted, as age is not always recorded in the database.

Commander Neil Basu of the Metropolitan Police said: "We have to remember that children can commit violent crime too.

"The police are paid to intervene in those situations and Taser can be an appropriate use of force. If that 14 year old is committing a violent act towards a member of the public or to an officer, or if they are self-harming, then our job is to make sure that that stops in the safest way possible. And in certain circumstances Taser is that option."

Home Secretary Theresa May has reportedly called for a review of Taser usage. Meanwhile, the Police Federation has called for every frontline officer to carry a stun gun to protect themselves against terrorists.

"Within the numbers quoted I would like to see how many times it has been used, other than drawn, which are completely different. Once it is taken from the holster it is classed as a use," the Vice Chairman of the Metropolitan Police said.

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