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Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) police forces had access to and (b) police officers were permitted to use Taser guns in each of the last five years; and what forecast she has made of the equivalent figures for each of the next three years. 
Jacqui Smith: In 2004, following a trial in five forces, the then Home Secretary agreed that chief officers of all police forces in England and Wales could make Taser available to authorised firearms officers as a less lethal option for use in situations where a firearms authority had been granted in accordance with criteria laid down in the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) manual of guidance on police use of firearms.
The Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) announced on 19 July 2007 that authorised police firearms officers in England and Wales would be able to use Taser in a wider set of circumstances. These officers are now able to deploy Taser in operations or incidents where the use of firearms is not authorised, but where they are facing violence or threats of violence of such severity that they would need to use force to protect the public, themselves or the subject.
Following the success of a 12 month trial in 10 police forces, I agreed on 24 November 2008 to allow chief officers of all forces in England and Wales, from 1 December 2008, to extend the use of Taser to specially trained units in accordance with current Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) policy and guidance. This sets out that Taser can only be used by specially trained units where officers would be facing violence or threats of violence of such severity that they would need to use force to protect the public, themselves and/or the subject(s).
I announced on 24 November 2008 that the Home Office would be making available a one-off injection of funding to support the purchase of up to 10,000 Tasers for use by police forces in England and Wales based on their own operational requirements.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many recorded rapes against women in rural areas there were in each of the last 10 years; and what the sanction detection rates were in each case; 
|Table 1: Offences of rape of a female recorded by the police , 1998-99 to 2001-02( 1)|
|n/a = Not available.|
(1) The data in this table are prior to the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in April 2002. These figures are not directly comparable with those for later years.
(2) The defining of rural police force areas within England and Wales has been taken in accordance with the ACORN (A Classification Of Residential Neighbourhoods) guidance as published in the Statistical Bulletin 01/02 Rural Crime England and Wales. The data cover 13 forces which ACORN defines as either Most Rural (Dyfed-Powys, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire and North Wales) or Less Rural (Cambridgeshire, Cumbria, Devon and Cornwall, Durham, Gloucestershire, Norfolk, Suffolk, West Mercia and Wiltshire).
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