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Traveller site police used Tasers

Police officers used Tasers five times and arrested 45 people during the clearance of the UK's largest illegal travellers' site, a new report has revealed.

Essex Police published the report outlining its operation to assist Basildon Council in the clearance of Dale Farm last October.

The report states: "There were seven officers deployed with Taser, all of which were Essex Police officers. Two did not use their Tasers at all during the operation.

"There were five uses of Taser during the operation. Two were discharges (firing) against the same individual, who was wielding a plank of wood with a nail driven through it at officers.

"There were three other uses of Taser, all of which were 'red dots' (aimed but not fired)."

During the operation, the force issued a statement justifying the use of Tasers, saying: "Officers reacted and used their personal protective equipment to prevent further attack."

The force said there had been no complaints about the use of Tasers during the clearance, dubbed Operation Cabinet.

Officers arrested 45 people during the operation, which began on October 19. Of these, 35 were arrested for obstructing a bailiff and the majority are still awaiting prosecution, the report adds. The remainder have been charged with offences ranging from public order offences to assault by beating and resisting an officer.

The report lists how £2.4 million of police funding was spent, largely on officer costs. The total cost of the clearance was £7 million, with Basildon Council spending £4.8 million.

Basildon Council is currently considering fresh enforcement action on a neighbouring legal site at Oak Lane. It says Dale Farm residents moved to this site, exceeding its authorised capacity.

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