Calls have been made for the wider use of Tasers after new figures revealed a significant rise in serious attacks on police officers in Dorset resulting in injury.

Home Office data shows that 111 assaults resulting in officer injuries were recorded by Dorset Police in 2018-19, compared to 79 during the previous year.

The figures reflect a growth in such attacks across England and Wales, where injuries to officers through assault increased by 27 per cent during the period, to around 10,400.

The Home Office said the figures are likely to underestimate the total number of assaults in some forces, as many officers see it as part of the job, and do not report them.

In response, a Dorset Police spokesman said: “Our officers and staff, along with other emergency services colleagues, demonstrate commitment, courage and dedication on a daily basis. They signed up to helping and protecting the public, not coming into work each day with the risk of being assaulted.

"The impact this can have on them, their colleagues and their families can have lasting effects long after physical scars have healed.

“Together, the emergency services want to ensure our personnel can deliver the best possible service to our communities, but in order to do this we need injury-free and healthy work forces. We will not tolerate assaults on our emergency services and will seek to bring criminal proceedings against offenders.”

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said the Federation would continue to push for a wider roll-out of Tasers to support frontline officers.

He said: “It is not a nice-to-have device – it is an essential piece of kit, which without doubt has saved the lives of officers and the public.”

Assistant Chief Constable Julie Fielding, of Dorset Police, said: “We recognise the importance of protecting our officers and we have a substantial number of officers who are trained to carry a Taser.

“We are currently reviewing the number of officers that are equipped with a Taser in Dorset and how they are dispersed across the county and this is something that will be kept under constant review.

"I would like to reassure the public that Dorset remains a safe place to live, work and visit."

National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman Martin Hewitt said officers should not have to face assault and has commissioned an end-to-end review of officer safety.