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Use of force

We are responsible for maintaining order and keeping people safe. To fulfil these duties, officers occasionally need to use force to protect both themselves and the public from harm.

The term ‘use of force’ covers a range of ways that suspects are detained, including unarmed defence tactics, cooperative handcuffing and both the drawing and use of a taser. Our use of force data is released every three months. It is captured using a form designed to comply with both Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) guidelines that came into effect in October 2016. 

Police officers are confronted with difficult situations every day. They walk toward danger when others walk away, thinking and acting quickly to keep people safe. These reports give an insight into what being a police officer involves and the challenges they deal with.

Use of force 2020 - 2021

5,274 Use of Force forms were completed in the 12 months ending December 2021. This compares to 4,891 forms in the 12 months ending December 2020.

In addition to recording the reason force was used, officers will also provide information on the primary conduct of the subject (degree of resistance), any impact factors (for example alcohol, drugs, mental health, weapons etc), the type of location where force was used, any injuries sustained by either the officer or the subject, and the outcome.


Use of Force Data Publications

All documents open in a new window:

If you require any of the above data in an alternative format, please request this via our website feedback.

Use of force glossary terms and technical notes

How use of force data is collected

Each use of force is logged by every police officer who attended a scene, so one incident may be logged several times.

The data aims to help us achieve one of our core values of being transparent in everything we do by informing the public of how and why we use force.

Recording and publishing this data is a significant change for forces across the UK as we previously used a range of recording systems. It is expected the number of incidents where force is used will be far greater than initial figures shown. The recording will increase as processes are embedded to give a true reflection in the future.

Use of force training

Officers are trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary. This data helps us to identify and act on any instances where this is not the case.

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