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New use of force form 'will help protect officers'

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Police Federation says it has worked to ensure the form is beneficial for officers and the service.

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A new form which must be used by all officers will help ensure they are not placed in a difficult position after a use of force incident, the Police Federation says.

The Home Office says from April 1 2017, all officers must record any use of force in the same way, regardless of where they work.

During the consultation process for the new form the Fed adds it has worked to ensure the burden on members is as minimal as possible.

“We also wanted to make sure that once all this data is collected, it will be used as constructively as possible for officers across the country,” said Simon Kempton, the Federation’s lead for operational policing.

“For the first time, we will have robust data from all forces demonstrating which techniques and equipment really work and which do not.

“We will make sure that this information is used to change things like Officer Safety Training to reflect what we – the members – need to do our job properly. At the same time, if certain equipment isn’t up to the standard we need, we will now have an evidence base to show this.”

Changes to the form made by the Federation included ‘were you injured during the incident?’ being amended to ‘do you believe you were injured during the incident?’ which it states protects officers if they subsequently learn they were injured but it wasn’t apparent at the time and they have a potential claim which could be undermined.

It also insisted changing ‘was the subject suffering from a mental illness at the time of the incident?’ to ‘do you think the subject may have been suffering from some form of mental illness?’ as officers should not be expected to make such an assessment.

The new form asks whether the officer is authorised to carry Taser, whether it was being carried at the time and whether the officer was single crewed, questions which the federation states will provide “invaluable evidence” when they argue that single crewing and a lack of Taser is dangerous for both the public and the officer.

“When refuting accusations levelled at us of using excessive force, we will now be able to argue, with solid evidence, that in comparison to the huge numbers of incidents we attend, we rarely have to resort to using force,” said Mr Kempton.

“Furthermore, the Federation will be able to use this data to demonstrate that if we are placed in a position when we must use force that we always try to use the lowest level of force available to us.”

HMIC will be measuring whether the forms are being completed as part of their inspection schedule. 

View on Police Oracle 

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