Use of Force

USE OF FORCE – OCTOBER 2017 TO DECEMBER 2017

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

 Superintendent George Maratty, Head of Operations Department, 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 October 2017 – 31 December 2017 there were a total of 3723 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 using the National Decision Model and will face numerous circumstances during their duties where the use of force is appropriate. This may be when protecting victims, the public and themselves, 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 Personal Safety Training and this is refresher annually. During this training they are assessed in line with Home Office and College of Policing guidelines in relation to the use of force,  tactical communication and the use of their personal protective equipment to deal with conflict management whilst carrying out their duties.

 

Northumbria Police deliver training in the following to their officers:

  • Use of batons
  • Use of rigid cuffs
  • Use of Aerosol Incapacitant
  • Leg Restraints
  • Unarmed Defensive Tactics
  • Tactical communications
  • Police Order 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 arrest offenders or suspected offenders and 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 of the Northumbria Police area.

Officer BCU

 

Central

1697

Northern

801

Southern

1225

 

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

Use of Force Tactic

           Use of Forces Found

Tactical communications

3626

Handcuffing (compliant)

2500

Handcuffing (non-compliant)

989

Unarmed skills

1066

Ground Restraint

797

Dog deployed

10

Dog biting

5

Baton drawn

24

Baton used

11

Irritant spray - CS drawn

33

Irritant spray - CS used

34

Limb / Body restraints

129

Spit guard

5

Shield

8

C.E.D.

20

Firearms

19

AEP drawn

8

AEP used

1

Other / improvised

109

 

 

The table below identifies the rank of the officer using force and their frequency.

Officer Rank

 

Inspector

10

Sergeant

147

Police Constable

3512

Special Constable

47

Police Staff

107

 

The table below identifies how many occasions our officers were assaulted.

Officer assaulted by Subject

 

Yes

156

 

The table below identifies how many occasions our officers were spat at.

Officer was spat at

 

Yes

92

 

The table below identifies the perceived gender of the subject against whom force was used.

Perceived gender of subject

 

Male

3117

Female

605

Transgender

1