THERE were 2,363 occasions last year where South Wales Police used some form of force on children.

66 per cent of the recorded numbers were for restraint, which can include handcuffing, restraining someone on the ground, or using specialist equipment to reduce the movement of someone’s arms and legs.

Using firearms, dogs, batons, shields and spray also count as using force.

South Wales Police force also used Tasers on children last year – including a child under the age of 11.

However, the police force say the use of Taser by officers is proportionate and frequently prevents harm to both police officers and to the individual being restrained.

Figures from the Home Office showed the South Wales Police force drew Tasers 58 times on children under the age of 18 in 2019-20 – with the electrical weapon being fired twice.

The figure is up from 37 the previous year but it counts the number of times each officer involved in an incident used the device, not the number of separate incidents or how many children were involved. The age is recorded as it is perceived by the officer.

The two times officers fired the Taser was not in a case involving children under the age of 11. For 15 of the cases, it is not known whether the device was fired as it was not recorded by officers.

The Children’s Rights Alliance for England has said the recorded increase in the use of Tasers against children by police forces across both England and Wales is ‘alarming’. They call for a ban on their use on young people and say that whether fired or not, being ‘threatened’ with a Taser can be extremely frightening for a child.

Tasers are designed to temporarily incapacitate someone by giving them an electric shock when fired. It can be fired from a distance or held against a body to stun a person.

Tasers were used on children across the 43 police forces in England and Wales more than 1,000 times more during 2019-20 than the previous year – recording 2,818 occasions compared to 1,700.

A Taser was fired 134 times in total across the forces, with none involving children under the age of 11.

Children’s Rights Alliance for England director Louise King said: “The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child that monitors the UK’s child rights obligations has been very clear that Tasers should be prohibited on children, and yet their use continues to increase at an alarming rate year on year.

“Even if a Taser is not actually fired, being threatened with one is still extremely frightening for children.”


South Wales Police also used a spit and bite guard 26 times on children last year, including four on children under the age of 11.

This is more than the 16 uses of the fabric hoods reported in 2018-19. The hoods are to protect an officer or someone else from spitting or biting.

Across England and Wales, they were used 548 times on children last year, up from 312 the previous year. This included seven times on children under 11.

Ms King said: “We want the use of Tasers and spit hoods on children to be banned.

“At the very least, the Government must urgently publish clear guidance and training for the police.”

A spokesman for South Wales Police said: “The use of Taser by South Wales Police officers is proportionate and frequently prevents harm to both police officers and to the individual being restrained as well as to members of the public.

“In many cases, the presence of a Taser alone is enough to calm an offender or an individual who is in crisis, and in the vast majority of incidents the Taser is not discharged.

“Despite that evidence of benefit, the deployment of Taser is very carefully controlled, and enormous care is taken when training officers who will carry Taser to ensure that they fully understand their responsibilities.

“The use of Taser covers three elements, namely deploying the Taser, aiming a red dot at the suspect or firing. Its use is carefully and responsibly overseen and Tasers are only used to prevent harm to victims, the wider public, police officers and offenders themselves.”