THE NUMBER of Tasers being used on people in Hampshire by police is among the highest in the country.

According to Government statics the weapon, which causes an electric shock that sends a person falling to the ground or freezes them on the spot, was involved in 1,508 incidents in the South East last year.

However a Taser was only actually used in 261 of the cases because the weapons were used as a threat against violent individuals in 1,324 of the incidents.

Last year, Hampshire had the highest figure for the number of Tasers actually used in the South East and was the ninth highest across the country.

This has risen since 2015 when the county was the lowest in the region and 17th in the country.

There were 288 incidents involving the weapon in 2016, 53 of which needed the weapon to be let off. There were 266 the year before and of that the weapon was only needed in 34 of the cases.

Across the country the number of Tasers across England and Wales has gone up from 10,390 in 2015 to 11,294 last year. In the South East it has gone up from 1,298 to 1,508 and in Hampshire from 266 to 288.

Hampshire was tenth in the table in 2016 for the total number of incidents involving a Taser, which included it being taken out of its holder and switched on as a warning. This is three places higher than what it was during the year before.

John Apter, the chair of the Hampshire Police Federation, called for more officers to be equipped with the weapon.

He added the rise was mostly down to more officers being trained with the devises. He said the other alternative would be strike violent people with a metal batten or use CS gas.

Mr Apter, pictured, said: “We have to accept that it is violent out there. A few weekends ago more than 20 of our officers were assaulted, this is a tool to stop assaults against themselves and members of the public.

“If you don’t want to be Tasered, do not be violent.

“It is not deigned for comfort. It is designed to prevent people from being extremely violent.

“I see the benefits first-hand. The mere presence of it is enough for people to stop in their tracks...They really help to prevent some serious injuries. “The level of training to use them is also significant and every time they are used it has to be justified and recorded.”