Use of Force

Police officers are authorised to use force in specified circumstances. They are trained in the use of force and will face numerous circumstances during their duties where the use of force is appropriate.

They receive initial Personal Safety Training (PST) which lasts 5 days and annual refresher training of 2 days. The annual refresher training includes 4 hours of First Aid training.

Throughout all PST training officers are assessed to ensure that they are suitably qualified and skilled to use a variety of techniques, including the use of appointments, as well as ensuring that officers fully understand their legal obligations whenever using force.

Lancashire Police are responsible for the delivery of training the following:

  • Tactical communications
  • Unarmed tactics
  • Use of rigid handcuffs
  • Use of baton
  • Use of PAVA incapacitate
  • Limb restraints
  • Police Support Unit Training in relation to policing public order events such as football matches and policing protests.

When using force officers are governed by the following legislation;

  • Section 117 PACE 1984 (When an arrest is made force may be used)
  • Human Rights Act 1998 (Force must always be Proportionate, Legal, officers are accountable and it must have been necessary)
  • Section 3 Criminal Law Act 1967 (officers may use reasonable force in the circumstances to prevent crime)
  • Common Law (An officer may use force to protect themselves or another)

This will be when making some arrests, restraining  non-compliant subjects or controlling hostile demonstration.

In the event of any complaints being made regarding the potential use of inappropriate or excessive force, complainants can either contact the Professional Standards Department and/or the Independent Police Complaints Commission who will investigate any such complaints.

Recording use of force

Nationally officers are required to complete a Use of Force form whenever they use force against a person. Officers record all use of force from “compliant handcuffing” upwards and document all use of force. Lancashire Constabulary comply with the national process.

The information that can be extracted from these forms can be flag up training issues and officer safety issues. Additionally, all use of force data is provided to the Home Office on a quarterly basis to allow for monitoring and statistical review. This is particularly important when identifying issues in the community such as how to deal with conditions such as Acute Behaviour Disorder (ABD). When officers complete the form they can record details such as this which can then identify training needs.

In Lancashire, there are regular meetings chaired by an Assistant Chief Constable where use of force data is reviewed and monitored. Research consistently shows that only a small percentage of police-public interactions will result in a use of force. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC) also conduct inspections of all Police Forces in the UK in relation to use of force.


  April - June 2017 July - Sept 2017
Forcewide 2483 2223
West 1040 951
East 872 820
South 524 421
HQ 47 31
Subject age 17 and under 103 141
Location = mental health setting 23 19
Location = medical/hospital 80 79
Location = custody 264 233


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