Published On: 2 December 2023Tags: , ,

Latest Home Office figures show an increase in use of force tactics by the police.

In the year ending on March 31, 2023, there were 659,372 recorded incidents of police officers using force in the United Kingdom, marking an 8% increase compared to the previous year. This has been attributed to enhanced data collection practices since the initiation of record-keeping in 2018.

Of the recorded incidents, restraint tactics, such as handcuffing and ground restraints, were the most prevalent, accounting for 78% (514,315 incidents). The majority of these cases involved males (80%), with half of all incidents occurring among people aged 18 to 34 (51%). Notably, the data reveals a stark contrast in the use of force rates between ethnic groups, with Black individuals experiencing force at a rate three times higher than their white counterparts.

The primary reason cited by officers for using force was self-protection, constituting 69% of incidents (453,862 cases). This aligns closely with the previous year’s figure of 70%. Substance abuse, particularly alcohol, continued to be a significant contributing factor, impacting 37% of incidents.

The outcomes of these incidents remained consistent, with arrests being the most common result in 71% of cases (470,416 incidents), mirroring the statistics from the previous year.

The data, collected from the 43 police forces in England and Wales, stems from a mandate initiated on April 1, 2017. This mandate required comprehensive recording of police use of force incidents to provide transparent information to the public regarding the types of force used and the context in which it occurred.


Police use of force statistics are classified as official statistics. This is the sixth year of their publication and the third year the statistics have been published following a 3-year ‘official statistics in development’ phase. Data, which has been collected consistently since the year ending 31 March 2018, the accompanying Police use of force statistics, England and Wales: April 2022 to March 2023: data tables include data for the years ending 31 March 2021 onwards.