A child from Lincolnshire was the youngest person in the country to have a Taser used on them in 2012-2013, new Home Office statistics have revealed.
A Lincolnshire Police officer red dotted the 10-year-old in June 2012, meaning that the officer pointed the Taser at the child but did not fire it – which is qualified as using the device.
The data was the result of a Freedom of Information request on use of Tasers by police forces, which includes the device being drawn, aimed, arced, red dotted, drive stunned, angle drive stunned and fired.
Tasers are gunlike devices that use propelled wires or direct contact to electrically stun and incapacitate a person temporarily.
At the opposite end of the data, a Taser was also fired at a 78 year old man in a Louth care home in October 2013.
This makes him the second oldest person in England and Wales to have had a Taser fired on them in 2012 and 2013.
Other incidents of Taser use by the force in this period include drawing or red dotting two 13-year-olds, a 14-year-old, two 15-year-olds and five 17-year-olds.
A Taser was fired by officers on one 15-year-old and on one 17-year-old, both in 2012.
Inspector Mark Garthwaite of Lincolnshire Police said: “The 10-year-old child had a history of violent behaviour that we were aware of and was throwing large lumps of glass out of a window in Bourne at the police and passers-by.
“It’s also important to note that the Taser was not fired – pointing it at him was enough to quickly and calmly resolve the situation so that no one was hurt.
“With the 78-year-old, he was smashing up a care home with a fire extinguisher and threatening people. We also had reason to believe he was in possession of a knife. The officer used the Taser for only two seconds on him, shorter than the average five second cycle.
“Most of Taser training revolves around the thought process and assessment of the situation before actually pulling the Taser out of the holster – for this we follow the National Decision Model which is guidance from the College of Policing.”
Inspector Garthwaite added that any use of a Taser by officers is scrutinised to check that it was lawful and justifiable.
The Home Office, who supplied the data, said the information held on the Taser database comes from individual police records sent to the Home Office each time a Taser is used and that some of the ages listed may be estimates.