Types of force

Officers at Lancashire Police have a number of tactics available to help them to keep people safe and uphold the law. Verbal communication is our preferred approach but sometimes officers face resistance and need to consider using force.

These are the types of force used at Lancashire Police:


Police Baton


A baton is a static or expandable stick. It's kept in a holster when not needed so that it doesn't impede an officer's movement. It can be pulled out of its holster to show escalation or used to incapacitate someone temporarily.


Police baton rounds / AEP rounds 

Baton rounds/AEP rounds

Baton rounds are intended to be less harmful than firearms. They are fired from a specially designed gun and are only used by authorised and trained police officers. Attenuating energy projectiles (AEP) are soft-nosed projectiles that are intended to soothe the impact, but deliver a high amount of energy over an extended period.

 CS Spray / PAVA / Incapacitant / Irritant spray 

CS spray / PAVA / Incapacitant / Irritant Spray

There are two types of incapacitant spray: PAVA and CS spray. They are used to incapacitate someone by irritating their skin, causing them to experience tears and coughing.

The spray canister can be pulled out of its holster to show escalation or deployed to cause temporary incapacitation.




At Lancashire Police we have a specially trained firearms unit which provides a 24/7 armed response service across the county. The presence of an armed officer can be enough to diffuse a situation and occasions where a firearm is used are incredibly rare.



There are two forms of handcuffing: compliant and non-compliant. Compliant handcuffing may be used for transport or to help when searching someone. Non-compliant handcuffing is used once an officer has gained control over an individual and is used to protect the officer and other people from harm.

 Police dog or horse


Police dog / horse

Specially trained animals, including dogs and horses, are available for situations where police officers need to control or pursue people.


 Spit guard / police restraint equipment 

Restraint equipment / Spit guards

Specialist equipment used to reduce movement. This equipment helps to control behaviour, therefore preventing or reducing harm to everyone involved in an incident. Equipment includes body or limb restraints, such as an emergency restraint belt (ERB), velcro or fast straps, and spit guards.



A shield may be used by police officers to protect themselves and others and potentially to strike an individual.

 Talking / conversation / communication 

Tactical communication

Tactical communication quite simply involves talking to a suspect. This includes issuing orders such as asking them to move or stop/change their actions.

 Taser / CED 

Taser / CED

The technical name for a Taser is a conducted energy device (CED). It's a tool that can be drawn as a warning or demonstration of an incident escalating or used to temporarily immobilise an individual.

 Self defence skills / unarmed skill / physical hold 

Unarmed skills / Physical hold / force

Unarmed skills include the physical holding, pinning or restraining of a person. It also includes any form of physical contact - for example, pushing, pulling, striking or pinning someone to ground.

Other type of police force 


Refers to any other method of force outside the standard techniques set out above - such as using a police vehicle to stop someone moving or fleeing.



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