The Met police’s use of force jumps by 79% in one year

Custody Cell

source: The Guardian
published: 8 October 2018

The Metropolitan police’s use of force has risen sharply in the last year, with black people far more likely to be subjected to such tactics than anyone else, the Guardian can reveal.

The UK’s largest police force deployed methods ranging from handcuffing to use of stun guns, CS spray, batons and guns 41,329 times in April to August of this year – 270 times a day on average – according to Guardian analysis of official figures. That compares with 23,118 in the corresponding period last year – a 79% rise – and 62,153 in the whole of 2017-18.

On 39% of occasions in which force was used by Met officers in the first five months of the financial year, it was used on black people, who constitute approximately 13% of London’s population.

Charities and MPs have raised alarm about officers increasingly resorting to such tactics and black people so often being on the receiving end. The police officers’ union said that cuts to resources, increasing violent crime and a new reporting system were behind the stark figures.

But Deborah Coles, executive director of the charity Inquest, said: “Ever increasing use of force carries ever increasing risk of serious injury and death. The use of force should only be a last resort and has to be proportionate. Increasing numbers suggest that routine use of force is becoming the first, rather than the last response, and that raises important questions about training and police culture.”

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