Regina police use-of-force incidents down slightly in 2017

Officers discharged guns twice and used tasers 18 times last year, but largely avoided neck restraints, joint strikes and pressure-point stuns


A Regina Police Service member holds up a Taser. Don Healy / Regina Leader-Post

Regina Police Service officers used their Tasers 18 times and fired their guns twice last year, according to statistics released on Friday.

The numbers detail 169 separate use-of-force incidents reported by police, three per cent less than the year before.

In some cases, police applied “multiple force options” — for an overall tally of 304 forceful acts in 2017. That’s 10 per cent higher than the five-year average.

Police were slightly more likely to discharge Tasers than in 2016, when the conducted energy weapons were used 13 times. Those numbers include accidental discharges.

Takedowns with injury trended up sharply, with reports rising from 36 to 52 cases of “soft physical control.” But “hard physical control” — better known as strikes — fell from 51 to 44 cases. Half of the strikes resulted in injury.

Police discharged firearms twice last year. The shots did not cause any injuries, though it was noted that officers had pointed their guns more often, with 13 reported incidents.

A number of techniques remained unused or barely used last year. Police largely avoided neck restraints, joint strikes, pressure-point stuns, and body cuffs. But they did wield their batons on occasion, with six reported incidents.

Regina’s SWAT team saw action 31 times and police dogs were also kept busy last year. According to the statistics, canine officers caused 23 injuries throughout the year and on only six occasions were their targets left unharmed. Police used vehicle immobilization tactics 25 times and pursuit tactics on 20 occasions.

The statistics are due to come before the Board of Police Commissioners on Tuesday, when Chief Evan Bray has promised a more detailed explanation of the trends.

In a report to the board, the police service said it will continue to develop its training and processes on the use of force. But it stressed that the trends wax and wane with the patterns of crime in Regina.

awhite-crummey@postmedia.com


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