A report released today by the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP has found a big drop in how often Mounties used Tasers.
Actual deployment of the device dropped 14.2 per cent in 2010, continuing a downward trend since 2008. As well, deployment fell 26.4 per cent between 2009 and 2010, the watchdog agency found.
The report said RCMP officers were more likely to threaten to use the devices to cool down a situation.
The commission said the statistics reflect "a growing tendency to use the weapons as a means of deterrence or de-escalation, without the device being deployed."
The decline follows the 2007 Taser death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at the hands of the RCMP at the Vancouver International Airport.
'Low' use of Tasers on youths
In June 2010, an inquiry report on Dziekanski's death concluded the RCMP were not justified in using a Taser on him and that the officers later deliberately misrepresented their actions to investigators.
A video of the altercation shows four officers talking to Dziekanski. Twenty-five seconds later, there is a loud crack that sounds like a Taser shot, followed by Dziekanski screaming and convulsing as he stumbles and falls to the floor.
Wednesday's report notes many Mounties didn't do a good job filing reports when they used their Tasers, and recommended officers "fully and accurately report and articulate their actions” after a Taser incident.
It also said Taser threats against youths rose in 2010 over the year before, but the number of incidents where youths were actually hit by a Taser "remained low."
The 150-page review also noted that Mounties were less likely to use the weapons on people with mental health issues than they used to be.