A total of 64 Lincolnshire Police officers have been injured while having to use force to restrain people within the space of three months this year, according to new reporting figures released today (Wednesday).
The first statistics of their kind show that in the three months between April and June, Lincolnshire officers reported 1,572 instances where they used force to restrain an individual.
The majority of incidents requiring use of force took place in the Lincoln and West Lindsey area – 541 (34%), but second in the rankings was Boston and South Holland with 353 occasions, followed by North and South Kesteven with 347 and East Lindsey at the bottom with 298.
From this month, police forces across the country are required by the Home Office to issue details of the number of times officers have used force in the course of their duties.
Deputy Chief Constable for Lincolnshire Police, Craig Naylor said: “In percentage terms, that is 3.5 per cent of the total number of incidents we dealt with in that period which was 44,935, and from that total, 3,012 arrests were made.”
The Deputy Chief Constable says that ‘use of force’ can be as low level as merely applying handcuffs to a compliant person being arrested to the higher end where violence is threatened to a police officer and the officer uses proportionate force to enforce an arrest.
The main reason for using force was for officers to protect themselves in 1,152 cases (73%), with the second most being to effective arrest someone (925 cases) and protect other officers (874 incidents).
Alcohol was a factor in the almost half the cases needing force - 730 (46%) with the second most being drugs 443, while on 161 cases it was because the individual was in possession of a weapon.
The requirement of revealing the figures is aimed at increasing transparency and providing greater reassurance to the public that force, when used is proportionate, lawful, accountable and necessary in the circumstances.
There were said to be 91 cases that involved the “use” of a Taser. Of these, 62 (68%) involved the subject being either red-dotted (52) and/or the taser being fired (10). Firearms were aimed in seven cases but no firearms were fired.
A total of 64 officers were said to have been injured during the use of force in just three months, all of them minor and onl five needing medical attention. Twenty-nine of the injuries were as a direct result of the officer being assaulted. In total 50 officers were assaulted by the subject, 36 officers were spat at by the subject, 21 officers were violently threatened with a weapon.
The majority of subjects on which force was used were male – 1344 (85%), perceived to be between 18-34 years of age – 978 (62%) although there were 107 cases of people aged 11-17 and 15 cases of over 65s having to be dealt with.
By far the greatest majority were white - 1,450 (92 per cent).
In 147 (9%) of cases, the subject was perceived to have mental disabilities and in 94 (6%) of cases, the subject received injuries. These were were all minor. Medical assistance was provided in 51 cases.
In over three quarters of cases the subject was arrested following the use of force, but in nine instances the person made off or escaped, 63 were hospitalised and 84 detained under the Mental Health Act.
Deputy Chief Constable Naylor says it will not be possible to make comparisons at this stage as the data published today is the first of its kind.
He said: “Whilst this new initiative means that officers are now required to submit details of the number of times they use force and the nature of that force, it provides us and the Police and Crime Commissioner with a suite of information which holds us to account to the public we serve.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire Marc Jones says he fully supports transparency in this area. “It’s really important the police are as open to public scrutiny as possible. As long as the systems in place are not overly complicated and waste officers’ time it is important that both I and the public have the information we need to hold the force to account,” he said.
The full statistics for Lincolnshire are published on the Force website and can be found by clicking this link.