The use of impact weapons (primarily the baton but may include the Arwen gun) increased to 6 incidents in 2015, compared to 5 incidents in 2014.
Physical control soft techniques involve joint manipulations such as wrist locks, arm bars without striking techniques, pressure point control, and escort positions. The number of incidents involving soft physical control in 2015 was 38 compared to 35 in 2014, which is an increase of 8.5%.
Physical control hard techniques include empty hand strikes and kicks. The number of incidents involving hard physical control techniques in 2015 was 12 compared to 14 incidents in 2014, which is a decrease of 14%.
In the vast majority of the reported incidents, physical control was reported because another use of force option was utilized, which necessitated reporting. For example, an officer may use the firearm option first (thus necessitating the report) followed by a physical control soft technique to handcuff a subject. Both the use of the firearm and the physical control technique are recorded.
Of significance, officers use physical control techniques to affect thousands of arrests each year and Use of Force reports are not required because the mandatory procedural reporting criterion is not met.
A minor injury is one that requires treatment by a qualified medical professional (e.g., doctor). In 2015, 11 minor injuries to subjects were reported as the result of officers applying use of force techniques compared to 18 in 2014.
A serious injury refers to injuries that require hospitalization. There was one incident of an injury to a subject that was serious in nature whereby the subject was shot by an officer. There was one incident that resulted in the fatal shooting of a subject by an officer.
Five officers reported minor injuries as a result of an incident involving use of force compared to four officers injured in 2014. In two incidents, officers suffered hand injuries resulting from physical control techniques. In one incident, an officer was treated for lacerations from a broken window. In another incident, an officer was seen by medical staff for an elevated heart rate. In the last incident, an officer was treated for a stab wound.
Oleoresin Capsicum (OC)
Oleoresin Capsicum spray (OC) was used 5 times in 2015 compared to 8 times in 2014. Use of Force reports indicates OC was effective in 3 of the incidents or 60% of the time, comparable to 62% effectiveness in 2014. Officers receive annual training that centers on identification of persons who may be resistant to the effects of OC, proper targeting and appropriate communication prior to and after OC is deployed.
Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW)
The Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) is carried by front-line supervisors, Traffic Sergeants, members of the Emergency Response Unit, and Sergeants from Plainclothes Units. In 2015, CEW’s were discharged 27 times compared to 26 in 2014. In addition to incidents where the CEW was discharged, it was tactically displayed or shown to individuals on 55 occasions in an effort to gain compliance compared to 43 occasions in 2014, an increase of 28%.
The CEW continues to be an effective tool for officers as it affords the opportunity to gain compliance without having to resort to physical contact or other use of force options which can put the subject, officer(s) or public at greater risk of injury. There were two reported minor injuries from the deployment of the CEW in 2015. CEW-assigned officers receive refresher training and are certified annually.
In 2015, there were a total of 280,140 calls for service which is a decrease of 5.2% from 2014. Of relevance to Use of Force reporting, in 2015, 12,245 arrests were made. This is an increase of 1.4% from 2014. In 2015, Waterloo Regional Police Service officers submitted 221 Use of Force reports. In 2015, WRPS canine units assisted in the arrest of 40 individuals, a decrease from 75 individuals in 2014. Only 4 of these incidents involved a canine apprehension, of which 1 required a Use of Force Report as a result of a minor injury to the arrested party.
The criteria for what necessitates the completion of a Use of Force Report are:
Except when engaged in a training exercise, target practice at an authorized range or ordinary weapon maintenance in accordance with Service procedures, members shall complete a Use of Force Report when:
pointing a firearm at a person;
- as demonstrated force presence (i.e., overt display of the CEW with the intent to achieve compliance); and
- in cartridge/probe mode, three point contact, and drive/push stun mode;
using physical force on another person that results in an injury requiring treatment by a qualified medical professional (e.g., a doctor or paramedic under certain circumstances). Where required, Training Branch supervisors shall be contacted for clarification on what constitutes an injury prior to the submission of a report.
Of the 221 Use of Force Reports submitted in 2015, there were 116 incidents involving a firearm compared to 129 incidents in 2014. The Special Response Unit (SRU) accounted for 32 incidents in which a Team Use of Force Report was completed. The remaining 84 incidents involved officers from either patrol, specialized branches or SRU officers not involved in a planned event. Of the 84 incidents, 102 officers drew their handgun, which is a 4% decrease from 2014 when 107 officers drew their handgun. Of the 102 officers who drew their handgun, 68 pointed their handgun at a subject compared to 78 officers in 2014, which is an 11% decrease.
In 2015, a carbine was deployed a total of 46 times compared to 80 in 2014, a decrease of 44%. Of those 46, it was pointed at a subject 33 times, compared to 39 in 2014. That includes 27 times by the Special Response Unit and 6 times by a patrol officer.
The humane destruction of animals decreased to 27 incidents in 2015 from 29 incidents in 2014.