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  1. ITV Report

Sharp rise in use of force by Met Police officers

The Met Police's use of force has risen year-on-year by more than three quarters, official figures show.

Some 39% of total incidents involved black or black British people; 42% involved white people; and 11% involved Asian or Asian British people, according to the data.

However, just 13% of the capital's population identified as black at the last census in 2011, while 60% identified as white and 18% as Asian.

Scotland Yard officers recorded 41,329 incidents involving the use of force between April and August this year - a rise of 79% on the same period last year.

The figures cover methods ranging from restraints, take-downs and handcuffing to Taser, baton and firearm use.

This provides yet more evidence about the over-policing and criminalisation of people from black and minoritised communities.

This begs important questions about structural racism and how this is embedded in policing practices.

Ever increasing use of force carries every increasing risk serious injury and death.

– Deborah Coles, director of the charity Inquest

However, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said the figures should not be compared with the entire demographic of London but only people who have had contact with officers.

The collation of these figures is still in its early stages and as this is new data, there are no previous benchmarks to compare it to.

The proportionate use of force is essential in circumstances where officers have to protect the public and often themselves from violence.

– Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, Met Police

The Met introduced use of force recording for all officers in 2017, meaning there are only two sets of comparable year-on-year data.

The number of incidents recorded in every place has increased: on streets and highways, public transport, in police vehicles, and in pubs and sport stadiums, the figures show.

There was also a sharp increase across the board regarding "impact factors", with incidents involving weapon possession, alcohol and drugs, and mental health issues all increasing by more than three quarters.

The number of incidents also varied widely by borough: with 2,826 in Westminster and 2,482 in Brent compared with just 636 in Bexley and 373 in Merton.

The data from Scotland Yard, covering April to August 2018, also shows:

  • More than half of recorded uses of force (56%) came on the street or highway.
  • People aged 18-34 accounted for 58% of all incidents.
  • Men accounted for 86% of total incidents.
  • Police staff were injured on 2,018 occasions compared with citizens being injured on 1,917 occasions
  • There were 411 occasions where people made off or escaped.
  • The Metropolitan Police added that a large number of the uses of force were at the lowest end of the scale, and the most frequently-used tactic was "compliant handcuffing".