Police use force 580 times in Peterborough over three month period

Police news
Police news

Police used force 580 times in Peterborough over a three month period, according to newly released figures.

The figures for April to June this year made up nearly 50 per cent of the incidents that Cambridgeshire Police used force during this time.

Police say the data has been released as part of a national push for increased openness and transparency, with details of every occasion officers have had to use a tactic to protect the public from harm now recorded and published.

‘Use of Force’ covers a wide variety of ways of calming situations, including Unarmed Defence Tactics, cooperative handcuffing and the drawing and use of Taser.

Deputy chief constable Mike Colbourne, health and safety lead for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, said: “Our officers are confronted with difficult situations every day. They walk towards danger when others walk away, thinking and acting quickly to keep people safe.

“This data gives insight into what being a police officer involves and the challenges they deal with on society’s behalf.

“Officers are trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary. Using a small amount of force through handcuffing or a form of restraint can quickly calm a situation down or prevent the individual or others coming to harm.

“However, it is imperative that we are completely open and transparent around when and why we use force and this data will allow us to see whether techniques were proportionate and necessary.

“It is yet another tool, along with body worn video cameras, that will allow the public to scrutinise our actions to build confidence and trust in the police service.

“This is obviously a new process and we fully expect the figures to rise over time as officers get used to recording every incident.”

The figures show:

. There were 451 occasions force was used in Peterborough over the three months, as well as another 129 in Thorpe Wood custody.

. Second on the list was Cambridge with 220.

. Across the county there were 1,234 incidents of use of force, of which 77 led to minor injuries and one led to a severe injury.

. Nearly a quarter of the people subject to use of force were believed to have had a mental health disability.

. More than half of the people subject to use of force were aged between 18 and 39.

. Five were aged 10 or under and 16 were aged 65 or over.

. 80 per cent were white.

. 76 per cent were male.

. In seven per cent of incidents the officer was injured, in three per cent the officer was spat on and in another three per cent the officer was threatened with a weapon.

Officers across the tri-force have been formally recording ‘Use of Force’ incidents since October – filling in forms for each incident if they were present. This means a single use of force may be recorded several times if more than one officer was on the scene at the time.

Statistics are expected to rise over the coming months as officers get used to the new process.

Chairman of the Cambridgeshire Police Federation Liz Groom said: “Police officers across our three forces deal with difficult and challenging incidents and it is sometimes necessary for officers to use force to protect individuals, officers and the public.

“Officers are required to record every use of force used, and it is important that this data is accurately recorded to show transparency. The data also helps to show the type of incident, and often dangerous and volatile situations officers are faced with while keeping the public safe.”

All of the statistics are available on the police website.