By Jessica Lovell
With several months still left in the year, Guelph police have already drawn their guns many more times than last year.
Statistics on the use of force by the Guelph Police Service show that officers have drawn their firearms without pointing them 11 times this year, compared with only two times last year. They have pointed their guns 21 times, year-to-date, compared to 16 times in all of 2012.
So far this year, guns have only been shot by Guelph Police twice, which is the normal average for the service, said Chief Bryan Larkin.
Firearms were discharged twice in 2009 and 2010, once in 2011 and once in 2012. “All of those numbers relate to the humane destructions of an animal,” said Larkin.
Though not all officers have the weapons, Guelph police have also used Tasers more times this year than in past years.
The stats show Tasers, also called stun guns or conducted energy weapons, have been fired three times this year, compared with twice in 2011 and twice in 2012.
No Tasers were fired in the previous two years, though police did show them to demonstrate that they could be used.
Under Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services guidelines, police are required to report use of Tasers, including when the weapons are only displayed to a suspect as a means of achieving compliance.
These reporting provisions will continue following the ministry’s decision, announced Tuesday, to allow more front-line officers to carry stun guns.
Other forms of force available to officers include pepper spray, batons, and their hands or fists. These uses of force, along with canine force and tear gas, also get reported.
Local statistics show pepper spray was used twice last year and twice so far in 2013. Officers used their hands as a means of force five times last year, and seven times in 2013.
Batons, dogs and tear gas were not used by Guelph police from 2010 to 2013.
By Jessica Lovell