Police Custody: Restraint Techniques:Written question - 4566

Q
Asked by Kate Osamor
(Edmonton)
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Asked on: 29 June 2015
Home Office
Police Custody: Restraint Techniques
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information her Department holds on the (a) number of instances where restraint was used against people in police custody, (b) age, ethnicity and gender of those people so restrained and (c) number of such people who were experiencing mental ill health when so restrained in the last five years.
A
Answered by: Mike Penning
Answered on: 07 July 2015
Holding answer received on 02 July 2015

There is no single reporting mechanism for all police forces on all use of force and the Home Office does not currently routinely collect information on the use of restraint in relation to people in police custody.

Work is underway with a number of forces on a voluntary basis to improve information held locally about those who are detained by the police under section 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983. Five forces have to date provided some initial information for the months of April and May in relation to the age, gender and ethnicity of such individuals held in police custody and whether restraint was used.

The Government is clear that any use of restraint must be lawful, proportionate and necessary in all circumstances. All front line officers must pass personal safety training annually. If they do not pass the training, they are not authorised to use restraint techniques. We strongly recommend that forces follow the National Personal Safety Manual published by the Association of Chief Police Officers. The police must be able to use force to protect the public, vulnerable people and themselves. It is for police to determine when the use of restraint is necessary. Local oversight of the use of restraint should enable forces to understand when and how they are using force and in what situations.

The use of force by the police needs to be transparent and open to scrutiny. At the Black Mental Health and Home Office Summit on 23 October, the Home Secretary announced that the national policing lead, Chief Constable David Shaw will conduct an in-depth review of the publication of Taser data and other use of force by police officers. This will present options for publishing the data on how police officers are deploying these sensitive powers, who they are being used on and what the outcome was.

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