Our officers face difficult situations every day.

Thankfully only a small percentage of these situations will result in the officer having to use force, be it to protect the public, maintain order or keep themselves from harm.

They are extensively trained to use this force proportionately, lawfully and only when it is absolutely necessary.

Use of force performance information

When force has been used against a person, our officers are required to record it. This ensures that we are held to account, that any trends are identified and any training, equipment or officer safety issues can be understood. All of this ensures that our use of force is fit for purpose.

This information includes any form of restraint including handcuffing, use of a Taser or irritant spray.

The latest data is contained within two infographics at the bottom of this page and the figures are based on a rolling 12 months.   

The first report shows any use of force where this has not resulted in an arrest. Each use of force is termed as an ‘Event’ and within each ‘Event’ more than one type of force could be used (therefore the sum of ‘Type of Force used’ will usually exceed the number of ‘Events’). This could be whilst someone was already in custody or a safeguarding situation. The outcomes are reflected in the fact they may be detained under the Mental Health act or taken to hospital as well as other outcomes. Please be aware that there will be some instances where force was used by more than one officer resulting in more than one event for the same person.

The second report counts all custody records where a person has been arrested and force has been used either whilst being arrested, whilst in custody after the initial arrest or both. Each record is unique and there is no duplicate counting of the same record. As in the first report more than one type of force can be used against the same person so the sum of ‘Tactics’ will normally exceed the number of custody records.

Explanation of terms regarding restraint tactics used

  • Handcuffing (compliant or non-compliant) Handcuffs can be either applied to the front or back of the body. However, the recommendation to officers is that they are applied to the rear. Handcuffs many still be applied when a subject is compliant, if the officer perceives that there is a risk to safety, or to prevent the escape of the subject.
  • Unarmed skills This includes the use of blocks and break-a-ways in defence of an attack as well as pressure points, distraction strikes (using hands, arms, legs, feet or the head), armlocks and takedown techniques to help control and restrain subjects.  
  • Ground restraint This is where a subject is taken to and controlled on the ground safely, in order to apply other tactical options like handcuffs, leg restraints or a spit bite guard or to perform another action without compliance, like the search of a subject or the removal of articles that may be dangerous or cause harm.
  • Leg restraint straps After gaining control of a violent subject, leg restraint straps are used to prevent a subject kicking out minimising the risks of harm to all involved.
  • Baton (including where it was drawn but not used) Where an officer draws a baton and warns of its use. Or by using it strike a subject causing temporary pain and stunning to prevent or stop any such threat.
  • CS spray This has been withdrawn due to its non-compatibility with CEDs and has been replaced by Incapacitant spray (PAVA)
  • Incapacitant spray (PAVA) This is dispensed from a handheld canister, in a liquid stream aimed to the face of a subject. The incapacitant solution causes a sensory reaction to the eyes causing them to close temporarily.
  • Spit / bite guard This is made from a fine mesh material with thin plastic window. Placed over the head of the subject it prevents spittle exiting from within whilst not compromising the ability of a subject to breath. It also reduces a subject’s ability to bite.  
  • Shield (e.g. subject struck or pushed with a shield) In instances of public disorder, where there is a high risk of harm, specially trained public order officers may be deployed with clear polycarbonate shields. As well as defensively offering protection, these can be used offensively to push or strike a subject who poses a threat.
  • Less lethal weapons Conducted Energy Device (CED, e.g. TASER®) (Including where a device is drawn and pointed at a subject but not discharged) Is a non-lethal electroshock weapon used to temporarily incapacitate a subject in order to gain control of them and neutralise the threat.
  • Attenuating Energy Projectile (AEP) (including where it was aimed but not fired) Commonly referred to as a baton gun. This device is used to deliver a strike similar to a baton from a safe distance causing temporary pain and stunning thereby neutralising the threat posed by the subject.
  • Firearms This refers to the use of conventional firearms, including where the firearm was aimed but not fired.
  • Use of canine support unit This includes where a dog was deployed but did not come into contact with (i.e. bite) the subject and where a bite order was given.

Cautionary note

The data for the reports is drawn from two live systems, Pronto and Niche Custody, and is therefore subject to change. As previously stated, it is possible to have more than one type of force used or ‘tactic’ on the same person. It is possible to have more then one ‘Impact factor’ for the same person.

An adult is 18 years old or over at the time of force being used and a juvenile under 18 years old. 

Person ethnicity is based on the officer’s observation and is not the person’s self-defined ethnicity. Time groupings on the custody report (second report) are Night 00:00 to 05:59, Morning 06:00 to 11:59, Afternoon 12:00 to 17:59 and Evening 18:00 to 23:59.