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Use of force is a term for a range of policing tactics that can be used by officers.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that physical force has been used against a person.
The term use of force includes verbal interaction with a person – known as tactical communications – handcuffing people, physical restraint and use of a TASER device or irritant spray.
Each time force is used (including tactical communications and handcuffing), our officers record the incident, giving details about the type of force applied, why it was needed, and the outcome of the incident.
Officers put themselves in potentially difficult and dangerous situations every day and have to think and act quickly when faced with challenges. There are occasions, when in order to maintain public safety or protect themselves, officers may have to use some kind of force.
They are trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when necessary.
BTP was one of a handful of police forces to have acted as pathfinders for a new initiative to ensure use of force is recorded accurately and consistently across all police forces in the UK.
By recording use of force properly, we can analyse how it is being used and make comparisons between forces. This insight helps us to compare the effectiveness of different techniques and improve the tactics and equipment we use.
It also informs the training given to officers, enables us to ensure certain groups of people are not disproportionately targeted and that we are answerable if use of force is not applied correctly.
It will provide greater transparency into how and why force is used; strengthening the vital relationship between the police and the public that is at the heart of our model of policing by consent.
If you wish to make a complaint, please complete our online complaints form or contact us by post, by writing to the Professional Standards Department:
Professional Standards Department
British Transport Police
25 Camden Road
Analysis and data from 2018.
Analaysis and Data from 2019
Analysis and Data from 2020
Analysis and Data from 2021