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Use of force incidents down in 2023, Sudbury police say

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Police in Greater Sudbury say the number of times officers used use of force in 2023 is down compared to a year earlier.

Use of force is defined as any time an officer uses physical force to control a subject or situation. Those could range from officers using their hands or drawing their weapons or deploying conducted energy weapons (CEWs) also known as Tasers.

During Wednesday’s police services board meeting, Chief Paul Pedersen explained the statistics and the reasons for the drop.

There were 104 use of force reports last year compared to 187 in 2022 involving 98 incidents in 2023 and 128 the year before.

Police said there were two main reasons for the drop. The first is a provincial ministry change in reporting.

“If multiple officers attend a situation and deal with an individual, instead of those multiple officers having to each submit a report, they can now submit a team report which captures all of the same information,” said Const. Chris Moggy.

“It requires one person to complete that report rather than multiple people. It’s a great time saver and more accurately captures the data that we require.”

Moggy, who is with the police’s training branch, said the drop in use of force incidents is due to o de-escalation training.

“It’s our officers’ mindset that de-escalation is their first step towards resolving any situation,” he said.

“As our skills and abilities improve in de-escalation, then our use of force numbers inherently decrease.”

“In 42 of the 62 cases … officers simply showing the CEW was enough to de-escalate the situation,” Pedersen told the police services board.

“You can see throughout this report where officers are using the education and training provided by Const. Moggy and others on de-escalating situations, which is having a positive impact in our community.”

Out of almost 64,000 calls for service in 2023, Pedersen said there were 7,000 arrest reports – Use of Force was used 0.2 per cent of the time.

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