Police zapped an 83-year-old pensioner with a potentially lethal 50,000-volt TASER after he walked out of a care home, it was revealed today.
The confused OAP was cornered by officers when they found him in park after he disappeared from a care home carrying a knife.
When the man threatened to cut himself, police in Wolverhampton, West Mids., deployed the US-made stun gun and took him into custody.
Figures revealed yesterday that officers from West Midlands Police shot a whopping 573 suspects in three years – an average of one person every two days – including a 15-year-old lad.
The damning statistics came after a 23-year-old man died after police in Manchester tasered him in July this year.
West Midlands Police yesterday defended using the Taser – on public SAFETY grounds.
A spokesman said the incident involving the OAP, in 2011, justified the use of a Taser because the suspect threatened violence against himself and others.
He said: “Officers concerned for other members of the public in the park used a Taser as they believed it was the safest resolution for all parties.
“He suffered only minor injuries.”
Superintendent Darren Miles added: “Taser is considered an effective way of restraining individuals that are violent and/or present a threat to members of the public and police.
“Officers have undergone detailed training, including scenario-based events to test judgement, accuracy and the procedural and legislative side of the equipment’s use. Officers will undertake annual refresher training.
“The use of Taser reduces the need to deploy officers in possession of firearms in situations where there has been a real possibility of someone being seriously injured or killed; this in itself allows the police service to confront violent offenders without recourse to potentially lethal force.
“In many cases, Taser has contributed to resolving incidents without injury.
“In a significant proportion of cases they have not even needed to be fired – drawing or aiming the Taser has been enough of a deterrent.”
But campaigners called for a review into use of the potentially deadly weapons – and insisted they should be subject to the same rules as firearms.
Amnesty International spokesman Niall Couper condemned the use of Tasers and called for more training in their use.
He said: “A Taser is not a little tingle, it’s a potentially lethal 50,000-volt weapon.
“It was introduced to the UK to replace firearms not in addition to them. A Taser should be considered in the same bracket as a firearm.
“In the United States over 540 people have died after being hit by a Taser and in many cases the coroner has concluded that the Taser was the main cause of death.
“Amnesty International believes the biggest problem in the UK is the level of training. A firearms officer will receive months and months of training and continual refreshers and reassessments.
“To use a Taser a police officer will get just three days worth of training and at best a one-day annual refresher.
“A mistake could be disastrous and it leaves the vulnerable most at risk.”
West Midlands Police tasered 153 people in 2010, rising to 198 in 2011.
The figure increased in 2012 to 222 – almost 40 per cent more than in 2010.
Ten people aged 20 or under were targeted with the weapons in 2010 and 2011, but that figure rose
In 2012, the year the 15-year-old was tasered, police used the weapons on 14 teenagers.
In July this year Jordan Begley, 23, died from a massive cardiac arrest shortly after being hit with a police Taser bolt.
Jordan, from Gorton, Manchester, found out he suffered from a heart condition just days before police used the weapon on him.