Hampshire police are using Tasers more than ever before, with usage almost quadrupling in the past six years.

Figures show in 2013, police officers drew stun guns 113 times, 20 of which saw them fired. By 2019, this figure had risen to 438, with 84 incidents of firing.

This trend looked set to continue in 2020, with Taser usage up by 29 incidents by the same time last year.

There was also an increase in the use of Tasers on children, rising from nine in 2013 to 29 in 2019, with a slight drop in 2016. However, the number of times they are fired has remained relatively stable at around three per year.

Police said the increase in use is partly caused by an increase in the number of Taser trained officers in Hampshire. An extra 60 officers were trained to use a Taser in 2014, and the force announced plans to double its total number in 2018 from 310 to 620. As of October 2019, the current number is at 530. This number is likely to increase in the near future, after Hampshire police were granted over £55,000 by the government to purchase an extra 67 Tasers.

To use these weapons, officers also need to be trained for at least 18 hours, with refresher courses every year. They were first trialled in 2003, with a rollout nationwide in 2013.

A spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary said: "The distribution of Tasers is based on assessments of threat and risk at a local level and is something that is kept under regular review.

"An officer will only use a Taser if there is an immediate risk to life or threat of serious injury to any members of the public or our officers.

"In the vast majority of cases it is used effectively as a deterrent, preventing conflict and protecting the safety of the public and officers.”

Hampshire Police Federation were contacted for comment.