New data lays bare ‘dangerous and volatile’ situations faced by police officers


- Credit: Archant

Statistics showing the number of times police officers have had to use force in Cambridgeshire have been released.

As part of a national push for increased transparency, details of every occasion officers have had to use force have been recorded and released to the public, with thousands of incidents logged in Cambridgeshire since records began last October.

Between April and June, the most recent reporting period, there were 1,256 incidents of police using force in the county, with 147 of those (12 per cent) recorded as taking place in Huntingdonshire.

Use of force covers a wide variety of ways of calming situations, including unarmed defence tactics, co-operative handcuffing and the drawing and use of a taser.

According to the figures for Cambridgeshire, the majority of incidents in which force was used involved white men, aged 18-34.

Frontline uniformed patrol and response officers (79 per cent) were most likely to need to use force.

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.

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“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.”

The number of time officers were injured during incidents in Cambridgeshire was also recorded in the findings – with officers being injured on 85 occasions between April and June.

There were 78 incidents in which someone who was the subject of the use of force was injured.

Chairman of Cambridgeshire Police Federation Liz Groom said: “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.”