Fewer people have been zapped by Tasers in Blackpool over the past year, according to new figures.
Statistics obtained by The Gazette under the Freedom of Information Act, show Tasers were fired on members of the public in Lancashire Police’s Western division, which covers Blackpool and Fylde, six times during 2013 compared to seven times in 2012 , seven in times in 2011 and 19 times in 2010.
Neighbourhood Watch volunteers have praised the use of tasers saying they act as a deterrent.
Stuart Grimes, Grange Park Neighbourhood Watch coordinator, said: “I would say it is a deterrent. I can imagine it being a nasty experience if one gets used on you.
“If I was a low life, I’d certainly think twice about going against what the police request you to do.”
Julie Bascombe, from the Revoe Forum, added: “Anything the police are using that can help them is an asset because you don’t want to think of a victim in some sort of trouble,. If the criminals don’t just get chased and there’s something to stop them, that’s got to be good.”
Across Lancashire, tasers were fired 47 times over the course of 2013.
In 2012 the force was criticised after tasering a 63-year-old blind man, Colin Farmer, in Chorley, after his stick was mistaken for a Samurai sword.
Chief Insp Ian Mills, of Blackpool Police, said: “The use of taser is based on assessment at the scene.
“The figures are not going to be the same every year and it is an option available to us.
“We’re in the business of making the public feel safer.”
Coun Amy Cross, cabinet member responsible for crime and community safety at Blackpool Council, refused to comment. Three complaints were made against the force for the use of Tasers last year. they were as follows:
The first complainant alleges an officer exposed her partner’s children to firearms and Taser.
The second complainant alleged that officers unnecessarily used a Taser device prior to conducting a strip search while he was detained at a police station.
The thirdcomplainant alleges that after being stopped by the police in his car on the motorway, officers laughed at him and threatened to taser him if he didn’t shut up.
He also alleges he was thrown to the floor and further threats were made to taser him.