POLICE forces in the region are to receive almost 250 new stun-guns to help fight violent crime.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced this week that more than 6,000 tasers would be made available to forces across the country, as part of an £8m project.

A total of 246 tasers will be divided among the Durham, Cleveland, Northumbria and North Yorkshire forces.

The bulk of the weapons will go to North Yorkshire Police, which will receive 130 tasers.

Durham, Northumbria and Cleveland will receive 50, 36 and 30 weapons respectively.

The extension of the project will see tasers handed out to more officers, rather than just those with firearms training.

Officers are trained to deploy the weapons only in situations where there is a real possibility of someone being killed or seriously injured.

The Homes Office said that tests have shown that, in many cases, simply the drawing or aiming of the tasers has been enough to defuse the situation.

Steve Read, acting assistant chief constable of North Yorkshire Police, said: "The force's firearms unit has used tasers since 2004.

"They have proved to be an extremely useful tool during incidents where members of the public or police officers have been faced with violence or the threat of violence.

"We welcome the additional resources will train additional officers in their use.

"However, the policy for the deployment of tasers and the circumstances under which they will be used will not change.

"They remain one of a range of tactical options available to police officers when faced with violence."