Use of Force
Cheshire Police are committed to keeping communities safe and to the prevention and detection of crime. Due to the nature of Policing, there will always be situations where we have to resort to force to achieve control of people who resist arrest or are violent, and to ensure the safety of our staff and of others. Our police officers and some police staff face difficult, unpredictable and often dangerous situations on a regular basis.
All police officers and certain police staff receive initial training on the lawful, proportionate and appropriate, use of force; in addition they receive annual Personal Safety Training and guidance.
After any use of force the officer is required to submit a Use of Force report.
This information is important to ensure that Officer Safety training and tactics are appropriate and effective, increasing the safety of officers in the future.
From April 2017, it became mandatory for officers to complete use of force forms after any such incident – including both compliant and non-compliant handcuffing, irritant spray, most restraint, and Taser.
Because this data is being collected and reported by police forces for the first time, and due to the complexities of determining what exactly counts as a use of force, the National Police Chiefs Council has cautioned that comparisons between forces may be unreliable and misleading.
This organisational recording of Use of Force data represents a significant change of practice and continuous work is ongoing to improve the quality, accuracy and consistency of use of force data.
Use of Force data will be published quarterly.
The Police use of Force is regulated by the following pieces of legislation;
Section 3 of the Criminal Law Act 1967 sets out the occasions on which reasonable force can be used by any person when making an arrest or in the prevention of crime.
3(1) A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large.
Section 117 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 provides that a constable can use reasonable force in the exercise of any power under this Act.
117 Where any provision of this Act -
(a) confers a power on a constable; and
(b) does not provide that the power may only be exercised with the consent of some person, other than a police officer,
the officer may use reasonable force, if necessary, in the exercise of the power.
Whenever the use of force is necessary, both the general public and members of the police service expect police forces to:
- respect and protect human life, and minimise damage and injury
- exercise restraint in such use and ensure that their responses are proportionate and necessary in the circumstances and consistent with the legitimate objective to be achieved
- ensure that assistance and aid are rendered to any injured or affected persons at the earliest practicable opportunity.
As well as Sec.3 Criminal Law Act, Common Law and Sec.117 PACE, the police must comply with European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), and in particular
- ECHR Article 2 (the right to life)
- ECHR Article 3 (the prohibition of torture)
- ECHR Article 5 (the right to liberty and security)
- ECHR Article 8 (the right to respect for private and family life)
Common Law recognises that there may be circumstances in which one person may inflict violence on another, without committing a crime. It recognises as one of these circumstances, the right of a person to protect himself /herself from attack and to act in defence of others and if necessary to inflict violence on another in doing so. If no more force is used than is reasonable to repel the attack, such force is not unlawful. If you have an honestly held belief that you or another, are in imminent danger, then you may use such force as is reasonable and necessary to avert that danger.
Details on the deployment of taser are published in the What Our Priorities Are and How We Are Doing section of our website.
The video below explains what tasers are, how it works, and who can use it.
The deployment of armed officers should only be authorised in the following circumstances:
- where the officer authorising the deployment has reason to suppose that officers may have to protect themselves or others from a person who:
- is in possession of, or has immediate access to, a firearm or other potentially lethal weapon, or
- is otherwise so dangerous that the deployment of armed officers is considered to be appropriate, or
- as an operational contingency in a specific operation (based on the threat assessment), or
- for the destruction of animals which are dangerous or are suffering unnecessarily.
Reason to suppose
Use of the words 'reason to suppose' sets the level of knowledge required (about the existence of a threat justifying the deployment of AFOs) at a far lower level than that which would actually justify the use of firearms.
Destruction of animals
The destruction of an animal is a duty which may fall to the police service if:
- the animal represents a danger to lives or property; or
- if the animal is in such a condition that it must be destroyed to avoid unnecessary suffering, and no veterinary surgeon or licensed slaughterer is available to perform the task or they are otherwise unable to do so.
"Cheshire Police are committed to serving the communities of Cheshire, Halton and Warrington. It is vital that this policing is with the approval and consent of the public that we serve.
Due to the wide range of incidents that the Police deal with, police officers must sometimes use force when faced with violence or resistance to protect the public and to protect themselves from harm.
Force can range from handcuffing, irritant spray to Taser and in very rare situations, lethal force.
Officers are trained in conflict management and to use the minimum level of force to resolve an incident they are dealing with. They understand that they are accountable for ensuring that the use of force is proportionate, lawful and is only applied when absolutely necessary.
It is important that the public we serve understand the work we do and the difficult and unpredictable situations we often deal with. The recording and publication of Use of Force data will assist this"