CUMBRIA Police have said that Tasers are only discharged when it it is 'justified' after figures revealed officers in the county pointed them at children 19 times last year.

New figures from the Home Office revealed how many times they were used on children in 2019-20.

Explaining the police's use of Tasers on children, chief superintendent Rob O’Connor said: "In Cumbria there has been no incidents in which a Taser has been fired against anyone under 18.

“A Taser is only discharged by trained officers who risk assess the deployment to make that split second decision as to whether its use it is necessary and proportionate.

“Officers will only discharge when it is justified to do so, and where there is a credible threat of harm to the subject, member of the public or officers.

“Although there have been 19 incidents in which a Taser has been drawn, all are recorded and reviewed to ensure that it is proportionate and in accordance with policy and guidance.

“Officers will utilise body worn video which can be reviewed by their supervisors, and the rigorous processes in place to review all uses of force include that by an independent panel.

“The presence of Taser very often deters or diffuses a violent situation safely, without officers requiring to resort to other uses of force or restraint that can be more harmful to officers and the subject involved.

“Where force is used to restrain, for example low level compliant handcuffing or specialist equipment to reduce movement, it is to ensure the safety of the individual and officers.”

“We have implemented child centred policing teams to work with young people to keep them out of the criminal justice system”

“Sadly we have seen assaults on emergency workers continue to increase, and on occasions it is children that use or threaten violence or spit at my officers.

“Whether that person be an adult or athletic and powerfully built sixteen year old, my officers will utilise their training and available equipment to keep themselves and the wider public safe.”