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Police Tasers drawn on more than 400 children in 2013

A Taser X26 model Credit: Reuters

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett has called for a review of the use of Taser stun guns after figures showed they police aimed the weapons on more than 400 children in 2013.

Some 431 children had a taser drawn against them in 2013, up 37% on 2012, Home Office data showed.

The youngest person to have a Taser drawn against them was 11 while the youngest person fired on was 14, the figures obtained by the BBC showed.

Meanwhile the oldest person to have one drawn at them was 85 and the oldest person fired on was 82.

Mr Blunkett, who was in office when the use of Tasers by the police was authorised, told the BBC: "This is a moment, perhaps, to take a step back and to get chief constables and police and crime commissioners together across England and Wales and to say to them, 'Perhaps we can take a further look at who is authorised, in what circumstances, and whether there are alternatives that can be used'.

"I think it's time for a review that incorporates the use of Tasers with advice and support on how to deal with difficult situations.

"For a youngster, 11 years old, a Taser is not in my view an appropriate way of dealing with a situation which clearly must have been out of hand, but where we need to train people to use much more traditional alternatives."

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Police to start using drug-drive testing kits on roadside

The 'drugalyser' kits are the first to detect cannabis and cocaine. Credit: PA

The first mobile drug-testing kit has been approved by the government as part of a crackdown on drug driving.

Called Drugwipe, it is the first portable device that can detect the presence of cannabis and cocaine, two of the most common substances used by drug drivers, by analysing a small quantity of saliva.

Results are indicated by the appearance of lines on the device - similar to a pregnancy test - within eight minutes.

Following a positive reading, the police will take the individual to the police station for a blood sample, which will be used in any subsequent prosecution.

The penalty under the new drug offence will be 12 months disqualification, a fine up to £5,000 and up to six months in prison or both.

British police to stage tribute to officers killed in Paris

Police across Britain will today pay tribute to the officers killed in the terror attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

At 10.30am - 24 hours after the shootings in Paris - officers will pause "in solidarity and sympathy".

The scene outside the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo in the aftermath of yesterday's shootings. Credit: REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

The request for the show of respect came from the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) and the Police Federation.

Acpo vice president and Greater Manchester Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy said: "We have to stand together against this threat and we cannot be naive or complacent about how extremist ideologies seek to justify this complete disrespect for human life and for the values which ensure the freedom and welfare of all citizens."

Police watchdog chief: 'There is room for more police cuts'

Police cuts are "here to stay" according to Chief Inspector of the Constabulary Sir Tom Winsor.

The head of the police watchdog said there is room for further cuts but acknowledged that the police would have to focus more on serious crime.

Chief Inspector of the Constabulary Sir Tom Winsor. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

His comments contrasted with those of Scotland Yard commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, who last month warned of a threat to public safety without radical reform of the police in the face of budget cuts.

Sir Tom said the police need to "work smarter" as inevitably the service will be smaller as he called for more action to tackle cyber crime.

He told BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend:

The police have already made and done it well in the main, cuts of 20% in the last four years, and they are facing cuts of a further 5% next year.

There will inevitably be a time where they can't take any more but let us remember that measured crime has fallen dramatically but so have the demands made on the police.

In some respects there are further efficiencies to be obtained, that is undoubtedly the case.

They need to work smarter because they will be working smaller.

Association of Chief Police Officers president Sir Hugh Orde also claimed last month that police forces were struggling to deal with reductions in funding.

Police warn they may have to stop tackling alcohol-fuelled crime

Police say they may not have the resources to deal with alcohol-fuelled fights Credit: Zak Hussein/EMPICS Entertainment

Police officers have warned that they may have to stop tackling alcohol-fuelled crime if cuts continue at anticipated levels.

Steve White, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said:

Society may have to come up with a different way of dealing with drunken, rowdy behaviour if police officers are also going to be able to deal effectively with counter terrorism, managing sex offenders, cybercrime, child sexual exploitation, looking for missing persons and dealing with people suffering from mental health problems, to name but a few jobs on the list.

– Steve White, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales

Earlier this month, the Government announced a further 5% cut in police funding for 2015/16 amid warnings that government funding is due to be cut further in future years.

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