Use of Force should be better recorded

09 March 2016

Record taking


A more comprehensive system to record instances of police Use of Force is needed, according to a new report.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has released its Use of Force study, which found an improved recording system was urgently needed to identify concerns and improve public confidence in the police service.

Dame Anne Owens, chair of the IPCC, said: “People understand and expect that our police officers should have the power to use force when it is necessary to protect the public. However, officers must be accountable for their use of force, particularly when it leads to death or serious injury.”

This accountability is done partly through investigations of serious incidents, but also by ensuring that the police consistently collect, analyse and publish data about how and when force is used, she said.

Rick Nelson, lead on Operational Policing for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said the report was welcomed and that the Federation agreed accurate, transparent and comprehensive data of times when use of force is applied is important.

“However, it is not just about how we record the use of force on the public, but about providing context to understand the circumstances as to why it was used.

“We would add that while also recording data on use of force by officers, it is important too to have accurate and full data of times when use of force is used against officers, and the impacts of this.”

Mr Nelson said the Federation is, and will continue, to work with the National Police Chiefs Council on a review of the recording of use of force, with an aim to have a clearer picture of the instances of when force is used across the country.

David Shaw, lead on conflict management for NPCC, said how, when and where police use force lies right at the heart of legitimacy, public trust and policing by consent.

“There are some very positive findings in the report, however, I recognise there is important work to do to collect and analyse data on use of force so policing can learn from the results and information is publicly available.  The review of the use of force that I am conducting is aimed at addressing these issues.”


The IPCC have launched a survey to help gather people’s feedback on the report. The survey is available online until 6 May 2016.