Bedfordshire Police opens up 'use of force' for public scrutiny

A new scrutiny panel, made up of members of the public, will hold Bedfordshire Police to account on its use of force.

The use of force scrutiny panel will help Bedfordshire Police improve its use of force and approach to policing in the event of arrest, or in any number of scenarios including when utilising stop and search powers.

The latest use of force statistics show that the force submitted 1,045 records of use of force between October and December 2019. Use of force is defined in police terms as everything from using handcuffs and unarmed detention skills, to the use of police dogs, batons, Taser and firearms.

Members of the new panel have been drawn from volunteers within the community and those who also sit on the force’s Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel.

Police stock image

The panel have already begun to receive training around officer safety training tactics and Taser, before starting a trial period in February.

Chief Inspector Ian Taylor, Bedfordshire Police’s lead for use of force, said: “Having trust and confidence in the police is absolutely vital to our communities.

"By being open and transparent with them on issues such as the use of force, and showing that we are accountable for our actions, we are helping to build that trust.

“That’s why it’s important that our use of force is recorded accurately, shared publicly and open to the scrutiny of this new panel.

"We currently have a number of methods of reviewing and scrutinising our use of force data, but we are grateful to these independent volunteers for giving their time to learn more about how we use a range of policing tactics and to ensure we are continuously seeking opportunities to improve.”

For more information about use of force visit the Bedfordshire Police website.