Members of the Sarnia Police Emergency Response Team practice clearing Lambton Mall. April 12, 2017 Photo courtesy of Sarnia Police.

Use Of Force By Sarnia Police Increases

The Sarnia Police Service submitted almost double the number of use of force reports in 2017, compared to the year before.

A total of 40 reports were submitted in 2017, compared to 23 in 2016.

Inspector Owen Lockhart says there was an increase in firearm and edged weapon-related calls last year, which would account for the increase.

“If you’re a member of the emergency response team and become encountered with an armed suspect, and several officers draw their firearm, each one of those officers are required to put in a report for use of force,” says Lockhart. “So, each one of those becomes a statistic.”

Last year, officers had five encounters involving a person armed with a firearm, two with replica handguns, 12 with edged weapons, two with large sticks and one with handcuffs.

Officers used a Taser in 18 of the occurrences, up from 13 in 2016.

Use of force could include soft hand techniques, punching, and using a baton, firearm or Taser.

Uniform patrol officers submitted 70% of the reports in 2017, while members of the Emergency Response Team submitted 12.5%.

Use of force contacts represented only 1% of the 2332 arrests made by the Sarnia Police Service in 2017.