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Police: Weapons

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines have been issued to police forces regarding the use by officers of batons, with particular reference to whether there is any part of the body that should not be struck. (244789)

The Association of Chief Police Officers’ (ACPO) Personal Safety Manual of Guidance, which is administered by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) on behalf of ACPO, to support and inform operational decision making and training to improve safety during the policing of violent and potentially violent situations.

This guidance is a restricted document, as the majority of the information contained within it relates to operational policing in terms of techniques utilised by staff in the defence of themselves, their colleagues and others. The release of such information would be likely to prejudice the health and safety of officers and others in danger.

There are no ‘prescriptive’ guidelines that are issued to officers in relation to the use of batons, and there are no areas of the body that officers are instructed should not be struck. However, the guidance makes it clear that the implications arising from the use of force are a matter for considered judgment. The use of force should be in accordance with the Criminal Law Act 1967 Section 3 (1), which states that:

“A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large.”