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Use of force

Northumbria Police are committed to keeping communities safe and to the prevention and detection of crime.

What is Use of force?

Northumbria Police officers are authorised to use force in specified circumstances. They are trained in the use of force using the National Decision Model and will face numerous circumstances during their duties where the use of force is appropriate. This may be when protecting victims, the public and themselves, making some arrests, restraining uncompliant subjects or controlling hostile demonstrations.

Each use of force must be based on the amount of threat faced by the officer concerned and must be proportionate in its use. When the use of force exceeds a level that would be considered justifiable under the circumstances the actions of the officer will come under scrutiny.

They receive initial Personal Safety Training and this is refresher annually. During this training they are assessed in line with Home Office and College of Policing guidelines in relation to the use of force, tactical communication and the use of their personal protective equipment to deal with conflict management whilst carrying out their duties

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. We do this to ensure the safety of our staff and others. Our police officers and some police staff face difficult, unpredictable and often dangerous situations on a regular basis.

Our Use of Force Data


What training do Police Officers receive?

Northumbria Police deliver training in the following to their officers:

  • Use of batons
  • Use of rigid cuffs
  • Use of Aerosol Incapacitant
  • Leg Restraints
  • Unarmed Defensive Tactics
  • Tactical communications
  • Police Order Training
  • Use of Police dogs
  • Use of Taser
  • Use of firearms and other less lethal options

What legislation do we follow?

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 arrest offenders or suspected offenders and to prevent crime)
  • Common Law (An officer may use force to protect themselves or another)

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

How do we record Use of Force?

All police forces are required to ensure that their officers complete a use of force form whenever they use force against a person. This is to ensure that that there is increased transparency which will better enable individual uses of force to be placed in context, and provide greater reassurance amongst the public that force, when used, is proportionate, lawful, accountable and necessary in the circumstances. It will also assist in identifying instances where this is not the case.

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