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Use of Force


In 2014 Theresa May, the (then) Home Secretary, called for "transparency" across the use of force spectrum. As a result of an in-depth review by the NPCC, a commitment was made for all forces to collate and publish data on use of force. This commitment aims to enhance our evidence base, strengthen our model of policing by consent, and demonstrate legitimacy of our tactics and robustness of our monitoring processes.

Use of force explained

Police are charged with maintaining order and keeping people safe. In fulfilling those duties, they will sometimes need to use force on behalf of the state to protect the public and themselves from harm.

Police officers are trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary.

The Criminal Law Act 1967, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, Common Law and the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 and the rights and freedoms contained within the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights) govern the police use of force.

Officers are confronted with difficult situations every day and should always consider when and to what extent force is to be used.

The use of force has to have a lawful objective (eg, the prevention of injury to others or damage to property, or the effecting of a lawful arrest).

Use of force includes the following tactics:

  • Handcuffing (compliant and non-compliant)
  • Unarmed skills (including pressure points, strikes, restraints and take downs)
  • Use of dogs
  • Drawing or use of baton
  • Drawing or use of irritant spray
  • Limb / Body restraints
  • Spit guard
  • Shield
  • Conductive Energy Device (C.E.D. currently TASER - in any of the 7 categories of use)
  • AEP: aimed or discharged
  • Firearms: aimed or discharged
  • Other / improvised

Click on the links to view:

Quarterly Statistics:



Summary data for financial year 2017/18 can be found here:

Use of Force Summary Data 2017 [220KB]

Use of Force 2017 Infographic [267KB]

Quarter 1 Statistics - April to June 2017

Click here [194KB] to view statistics for Quarter 1 - April to June 2017.

Quarter 2 Statistics - July to September 2017

Click here [268KB] to view statistics for Quarter 2 - July to September 2017.

Click here [418KB] for Quarter 2 Infographic.


Quarter 3 Statistics - October to December 2017

Click here [256KB] to view statistics for Quarter 3 - October to December 2017.

Click here [395KB] for Quarter 3 Infographic.