Use of Force

USE OF FORCE – JULY 2017 TO SEPTEMBER 2017

Northumbria Police has published statistics to show how many times force has been used by officers during their duties.

 

Superintendent Sarah Pitt stated:

“All Police forces police by consent – we can only serve the communities of Northumbria if we have their support. In the course of those duties, however, police officers must sometimes use force to protect the public and to protect themselves from harm. Force can mean, for example, a form of restraint, handcuffing, or use of an irritant spray. Officers are trained to use the minimum level of force required to resolve an incident they are dealing with. Officers are accountable for ensuring that the use of force is proportionate, lawful and is only applied when absolutely necessary. It is important that the public we serve understand that.”


During the three month period of 1 July 2017 – 30 September 2017 there were a total of 3172 incidents of force being used. In some instances more than one type of force was used in order for the incident to be resolved resulting in multiple recordings as per Home Office directives.

Northumbria Police officers are authorised to use force in specified circumstances. They are trained in the use of force and will face numerous circumstances during their duties where the use of force is appropriate. This will be when making some arrests, restraining uncompliant subjects or controlling hostile demonstrations.

Each use of force must be based on the amount of threat faced by the officer concerned and must be proportionate in its use. When the use of force exceeds a level that would be considered justifiable under the circumstances the actions of the officer will come under scrutiny.

They receive initial Officer Safety Training and annual training. During this training they are assessed as per Home Office guidelines in relation to the use of tactical communication and the use of their personal protective equipment to deal with conflict whilst carrying out their duties.

 

Northumbria Police deliver training in the following to their officers:

  • Use of friction Batons
  • Use of Rigid cuffs
  • Use of Aerosol Incapacitate
  • Leg Restraint Straps
  • Unarmed tactics
  • Tactical communications
  • Police Support Unit Training
  • Use of Police Dogs
  • Use of Taser
  • Use of firearms and other less lethal options

 

When using force officers are governed by the following legislation;

  • Section 117 PACE 1984 (When an arrest is made force may be used)
  • Human Rights Act 1998 (Force must always be Proportionate, Legal, officers are accountable and it must have been necessary)
  • Section 3 Criminal Law Act 1967 (officers may use reasonable force in the circumstances to prevent crime)
  • Common Law (An officer may use force to protect themselves or another)

 

The table below demonstrates where force has been used within the three geographic Area Commands within the Northumbria Police Area.

 

Officer BCU

Use of Forces Found

% of [2]

 

Central

1,629

48.6

 

Durham

3

0.0

 

Northern

807

21.2

 

Southern

1,274

30.2

 

 

The table below identifies what tactic has been used by our officers and their frequency.

 

Use of Force Tactic

Use of Forces Found

% of [2]

 

Tactical communications

3,622

97.5

 

Handcuffing (compliant)

2,380

64.1

 

Handcuffing (non-compliant)

1,014

27.3

 

Unarmed skills

1,175

31.6

 

Ground Restraint

804

21.7

 

Dog deployed

18

0.5

 

Dog biting

3

0.1

 

Baton drawn

66

1.8

 

Baton used

28

0.8

 

Irritant spray - CS drawn

46

1.2

 

Irritant spray - CS used

40

1.1

 

Irritant spray - PAVA used

0

0.0

 

Limb / Body restraints

160

4.3

 

Shield

10

0.3

 

C.E.D.

23

0.6

 

Firearms

18

0.5

 

AEP drawn

2

0.1

 

Other / improvised

99

2.7