Share your views on the police use of force
Ahead of a national change in the publication of data, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill and Dorset Police are asking for your views on police use of force.
From July 2017, police forces will be required to regularly publish data on their officers’ use of force in the course of duty. This will include documenting a range of methods used by police, including forms of restraint, handcuffing, use of Taser or deployment of an irritant spray.
The release of the data will ensure that police are open and accountable to the communities they serve. It will give members of the public the opportunity to feedback and challenge this data, as well as giving them an insight into the challenges police officers face every day on society’s behalf.
Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill is Chair of the local Use of Force panel and sits nationally on the Use of Force Programme Board. He said: “I welcome this change to publication guidelines as a step towards greater transparency across the police service.
“Police officers face challenges every day and go towards danger to protect our communities from harm. It is inevitable that within this difficult duty, force will be used. This scheme will ensure that any deployment of force is scrutinised in the right way, checking factors such as justification and proportionality, to reassure the public and increase police legitimacy.”
Acting Superintendent Jez Noyce is the Dorset Police lead for Use of Force and added: “The publication of data and the views of the public will better enable individual uses of force to be placed in context, and provide greater transparency into police action. The public need to be confident that force, when used, is proportionate, lawful, accountable and necessary in the circumstances.
“Access to this data will give us a wealth of information that will help us to compare the effectiveness of different techniques enabling more informed, evidence-based decisions about training, public action and reaction, officer welfare, tactics and equipment.”
As part of the work towards greater accountability, the Commissioner is asking residents to complete a short survey, to share their views on the use of force. Acting Superintendent Noyce said: “I fully support this consultation, as it is invaluable to engage with the public around police tactics that are seen when officers have to detain or restrain someone in the course of their duty.
“We want to be open and transparent, build the trust of our communities and make improvements wherever possible.”
The PCC is encouraging all Dorset residents to take part: “This survey will only take a short time to complete, and will give you the opportunity to share your views on this important area of police business that rightly warrants scrutiny.
“Demand is increasing and policing is stretched. We know that the police service needs to adapt to the changing landscape and the emerging threats we face. How we equip police officers is a key part of this development and any decisions made in this area must be consolidated and legitimised by public opinion.”