Use of force

Police officers are trained in the use of force and occasionally face circumstances where the use of force is appropriate.

They receive initial and ongoing Officer Safety Training to include:

When using force officers are governed by the following legislation:

Find out more about the core principles of use of force on the College of Policing website.

Recording use of force

Nationally officers are required to complete a Use of Force form whenever they use force against a person. Find out more information on this and answers to some frequently asked questions.


Research consistently shows that only a small percentage of police-public interactions will result in a use of force and will not always involve the arrest of a person. The use of force covers a range of tactics as outlined above and includes for example, taking hold of someone’s arm to escort them away from an incident or applying handcuffs to someone in order to complete a safe-search of that person.

In October 2017, (and for every subsequent performance quarter), Leicestershire Police will have access to the data as requested by the NPCC and we will publish a summary of the data on this webpage. In the meantime, previously collected data is available by following the link below.

What is meant by a ‘use of force incident’?

A use of force incident is ‘officer focused’, and refers to 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 or records would be created. Similarly if one officer uses force against more than one subject in a particular encounter then multiple use of force records would be created. In some instances, e.g. as part of a planned policing operation such as a football match where an officer may, for example, use force against a number of people in a crowd control situation it may not be possible or practicable to identify each and every person against whom force is used. In such cases a single record may be created upon which officers would record, to the best of their abilities, details of the incident and those involved.

The term ‘subject’ is what is referred to on the national form and relates to the person on whom force is used.

How will Leicestershire Police use the data?

Officers are trained to use to force proportionately, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary and in accordance with the principles of the use of force, available here from the College of Policing. This data may 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 that officers may need.

Can I compare Leicestershire 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.

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