Frequently asked questions
Why are you publishing this data?
Police forces for several years have been collecting more data about use of force, but it has not always been comparable or consistent nationally.
In 2014 Theresa May, the (then) Home Secretary, called for “transparency” across the use of force spectrum. The then NPCC Lead for Conflict Management, CC David Shaw (rtd.), was asked to lead “an in-depth review of the publication of Taser data and other use of force by police officers, and to present options on how police officers are deploying these sensitive powers, who they are being used on and what the outcome was”.
As a result of this review a commitment was made at Chief Constable Council in January 2017 for all forces to collate and publish data on use of force. This commitment aims to enhance our evidence base, strengthen our model of policing by consent, and demonstrate legitimacy of our tactics and robustness of our monitoring processes.
At the time of the review, Chief Constable David Shaw described the publication of use of force data in the following terms:
Increased transparency will better enable individual uses of force to be placed in context, and provide greater reassurance amongst the public that force, when used, is proportionate, lawful, accountable and necessary in the circumstances. It will also assist in identifying instances where this is not the case.
What is the use of force form?
North Yorkshire Police officers and staff are expected to complete the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) Use of Force form whenever they use force. The record is completed electronically and can be done remotely. Police staff that may be required to submit a record include Police Community Support Officers and Civilian Custody Detention Officers. Police staff do not carry personal protective equipment.
Where more than one officer is involved, then a record should be completed by each officer involved in using force. Therefore, the total number of records do not relate to the total number of incidents or subjects.
What is meant by a ‘use of force incident’?
A use of force incident is ‘officer focused’, and refers an officer’s use of force against a person, rather than ‘subject focused’.
In other words, if two officers use force on one subject in a single encounter, two use of force incidents would be created.
The term ‘subject’ is what is referred to on the national form and relates to the member of the public on whom force is used.
How will North Yorkshire Police use the data?
Officers are trained to use to force proportionately, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary. This data help us to identify and act on any instances where this is not the case.
Access to this data will give us a wealth of information that will help us to compare the effectiveness of different techniques enabling more informed, evidence-based decisions about training, tactics and equipment.
Can I compare North Yorkshire Police’s data with that of other forces?
Recording and publishing all of this data is a significant change for forces as they use a range of recording systems. It will not be accurate to simply aggregate force data returns for a ‘national’ picture. This is the first phase of the project and we will be working to continuously improve the quality and consistency of use of force data.
Will collecting and publishing this data create extra bureaucracy?
This data collection and publication will reduce bureaucracy by consolidating processes like the lengthy Taser recording form, and make it easier to access to consistent information thereby reducing the need for Freedom of Information requests. Nationally, the use of force programme board will be reviewing and seeking to improve the recording and collation process as the project continues as regular practice.