TASER stun guns were deployed more than twice as often last year by Gwent Police officers, compared to the previous year, new figures reveal.

Officers drew their Tasers 171 times in 2018/19, the latest Home Office statistics show, up from 72 the year before.

During these incidents last year, Tasers were discharged on 13 occasions, or eight per cent of the time.

The devices, which deliver a high-voltage electric shock, were also used to deter suspects. In 23 cases officers aimed and partially activated the Taser so a red target dot appeared on them.

Officers must decide whether using a Taser is legal, proportionate and necessary in a situation.


The College of Police guidelines for the use of Taser stun guns, or Conductive Energy Devices (CEDs), states officers should first identify themselves and state they are equipped with a CED; give the subject clear warning of their intention to use a CED, and give the subject “sufficient time” to react to the warning.

If this does not stop them, officers can use a visual display of the CED to deter them, either by pointing the red dot sight at the subject or giving “a visual display of the sparking effect.”

Use of Tasers has now reached a record high across England and Wales, with forces overall discharging the weapons on 2,700 occasions in 2018-19.

During this time, the devices were unholstered in 23,500 incidents - in most cases aimed at suspects without being discharged - up 39 per cent from the previous year.

The Home Office said the rise may reflect police forces dealing with "more incidents with the potential for conflict", or growing numbers of "CED-trained officers and CEDs available".

A Gwent Police spokesman said a change in the way Gwent Police records its Use of Force data may be the reason for the rise.

“Gwent Police, in the past year, has amended the way that the force records its ‘Use of Force’ data which is supplied to the Home Office," they said.

“This change has resulted in further improving the accuracy of the data in relation to officers’ use of force, which includes the use of Tasers.

“All Taser-trained officers receive appropriate training to use their Tasers in a proportionate and responsible manner and their specialist training is constantly reviewed.

“Body-worn video assists with our recording and monitoring of correct use of Tasers.”

The figures also show Gwent Police officers used force against suspects on 6,330 occasions in 2018/19.

This includes forcibly handcuffing someone, striking a suspect with a baton, or using pepper spray.

Across England and Wales, there were 428,000 recorded incidents in which a police officer used force.

Matt Twist, deputy assistant commissioner of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said force "is rarely used" during officers' day-to-day duties.

"As the public would expect, most forms of restraint used by officers involve the use of handcuffs in order to arrest an individual," he said.

"It is no surprise that force is often used in cases where the person restrained is drunk or under the influence of drugs as experience shows these suspects can often be the most difficult and dangerous."