Police are charged with maintaining order and keeping people safe. In fulfilling those duties officers sometimes need to use force on behalf of the state to protect the public and themselves from harm.
Use of force covers a range of ways of detaining suspects, from applying handcuffs for the purpose of transporting a person to a Police Station, to an incident where a firearm is aimed or discharged.
Why use of force statistics are recorded and published
With effect from 1 April 2017 the National Police Chiefs’ Council introduced a requirement for all police forces to record and publish data on the use of force by officers.
The data will help contextualise each use of force by showing how using minimal force prevents more serious options or harm to the public. Officers are trained to use force proportionality, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary.
Publication of Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) use of force statistics
MDP use of force data will be published here on a quarterly basis. This data will provide greater transparency into how and why force is used, strengthening the relationship between the police and the public which is at the heart of the model of policing by consent.
Data collection, analysis and quality
Use of force data is obtained from the Computer Aided Despatch (CAD) System. This contains both the use of force incident code which is logged by Force Control Room Operatives on the day of the incident and the accompanying use of force forms which are filled in by the officers involved, as soon after the instance as is practically possible.
A search in the CAD system is performed for any use of force incident codes within the latest quarter. Any records from this search are included and information from the accompanying forms are manually entered onto the use of force register where the data is analysed for the quarterly reports. Data is not analysed until all accompanying forms for the use of force incident have been provided.
Information from the accompanying form on the CAD is compared with the hard copy that is held centrally to confirm that all information is identical.