TASERS shooting up to 50,000 volts of electricity into people are being deployed five times as often as two years ago in Essex.

In 2010 and 2011, the force used Tasers about 30 times.

In 2013, they were used about 150 times.

The figures were revealed as part of a ten year review into the use of these weapons carried out by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

In 2012, the force rolled out Tasers to more officers.

Previously they had only been used by trained firearms officers.

Now they are given to dozens of officers responding to calls, who have been making use of them.

Tasers were first used by police in the UK in 2003 and nationally, since 2007, the use of tasers has increased by 234 per cent.

Complaints about the use have gone up at about the same rate.

A Taser is classed as used as soon as it is drawn irrespective of whether it is fired.

They were originally designed to be used only where there was serious danger, but as a less lethal option than a gun.

However, the IPCC believes there is now a gap between what the public will accept and how they are being used.

The report states: “There is an obvious mismatch between the public perception that Taser is a high level use of force that should only be considered when faced with the most serious threats of violence, and the police’s most frequent rationale for use, that Taser presents a lower risk than other equipment such as CS spray, physical restraint or a baton.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said 70 per cent of the time the Taser is not discharged and “just drawing it was enough to diffuse a situation”.

They added: “Taser allows the restraint of violent individuals, safely and efficiently, and is often less harmful to offenders than striking them with an asp or using CS spray.”

There are 238 officers trained to use them in Essex including 182 firearms officers.

The report by the IPCC also raises concerns about Tasers being used on the mentally ill and while people are in custody.