THE amount of tasers fired and officers using firearms among Wigan’s police force has increased in recent years according to the latest Government statistics.
Figures released by the Home Office revealed that the use of controversial taser guns increased among Greater Manchester Police Officers increased from 101 instances in which they were fired between January 2012 to June 2012, to 112 between July 2013 and December 2013.
There have been a number of controversial cases involving use of the stun guns - including blind pensioner Colin Farmer who was hit with the weapon in Chorley, when an officer mistook his white stick for a Samurai sword.
Taser guns - which emit an electric shock to incapacitate - were issued to all police forces following a trial in 2004.
In 2006, John Butler, from Orrell, was shot with two tasers after a 19-hour stand-off with police in Skelmersdale.
The 45-year-old shot himself in the head and later died in hospital. After he had shot himself, officers gained entry to his car and because he was still conscious and in possession of a hand-gun, two tasers were discharged, although one failed to fire fully.
More recently in October last year, 36-year-old Paul Rodgers from Scholes was tasered after lashing out at two police officers following a domestic disturbance.
The statistics also revealed that the number of operations in which firearms were authorised to be used by GMP officers increased from 414 in 2011/12 to 472 in 2012/13.
GMP armed officers controversially shot dead 36-year-old Anthony Grainger as he sat in a car in Culcheth in March 2012.
In March this year members of the public looked on in shock as officers carrying automatic weapons, arrested two men at an address in Ormskirk Road, Newtown, following an investigation into a hit and run days beforehand.
John O’Hare from GMP’s Specialist Operations Branch said: “The taser continues to be a valuable and effective option for officers dealing with volatile situations.”