WEST Yorkshire Police officers had to resort to using force more than 7,500 times over a three month period this year.

Data released for the first time shows tasers were used 62 times, an irritant spray was used 132 times and police dogs bit offenders four times in the period April 1 to June 30.

Spit guards were used on 14 occasions, ground restraint was used on 216 occasions and there were 1,092 occasions of non-compliant handcuffing.

Compliant handcuffing amounted to 2,147 incidents.

A shield was used once and a baton ten times.

Tactical (verbal) communication was used on 2,554 occasions to resolve an incident.

In all, force was used by officers 7,680 times in order to carry out their duties and there were 218 occasions when police staff were physically injured.

West Yorkshire Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams said: “All police forces police by consent. We can only serve the communities of West Yorkshire if we have their support.

“In the course of those duties, however, police officers must sometimes use force to protect the public and to protect themselves from harm.

“Force can mean, for example, a form of restraint, handcuffing, or use of an irritant spray.

“Officers are trained to use the minimum level of force required to resolve an incident they are dealing with.

“Officers are accountable for ensuring that the use of force is proportionate, lawful and is only applied when absolutely necessary. It is important that the public we serve understand that.”

It is the first time police forces across the country have recorded and published this data in this way.

ACC Williams added: “We deal with thousands of calls for service at West Yorkshire Police every day. It is inevitable given the nature of the job we do to keep our communities safe that some of those calls will require the use of force.

“It is pleasing to note that in the vast majority of instances - (5,793 – 75 per cent) either involved tactical communication or handcuffing people – meaning that additional force was rarely used despite the demand on our service.

“Rarely did officers have to use additional tactics or resources – for example police dogs, tasers or irritant spray.

“Often, the visible presence of such a tactic was sufficient and not used. For example in the three month period, batons were drawn 35 times but actually used on less than a third of those instances.

“Of those injured when police force has been used, more than 98 per cent only suffered minor injuries.

“This data set also shows that during the same time staff were physically injured 218 times.”