Use of Force

USE OF FORCE – APRIL 2017 TO JUNE 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 April 2017 – 30 June 2017 there were a total of 4882 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

2,371

48.6

 

Durham

1

0.0

 

Northern

1,035

21.2

 

Southern

1,475

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

4,734

97.0

 

Handcuffing (compliant)

2,993

61.3

 

Handcuffing (non-compliant)

1,223

25.1

 

Unarmed skills

1,477

30.3

 

Ground Restraint

1,004

20.6

 

Dog deployed

35

0.7

 

Dog biting

5

0.1

 

Baton drawn

53

1.1

 

Baton used

21

0.4

 

Irritant spray - CS drawn

49

1.0

 

Irritant spray - CS used

39

0.8

 

Irritant spray - PAVA used

1

0.0

 

Limb / Body restraints

215

4.4

 

Shield

13

0.3

 

C.E.D.

25

0.5

 

Firearms

35

0.7

 

AEP drawn

6

0.1

 

Other / improvised

130

2.7