News & Updates

Hamilton Police Use of Force Data & Report is unreliable

Jul 29, 2021

On June 24th, 2021 the Hamilton Police Service released its report on the use of force. The report highlighted the different ways Police officers use force on residents during interactions. Such use of force techniques include

Firearm Discharged
Firearm Pointed
Handgun Drawn
Aerosol Weapon (Oleo capsicum (O/C) spray or foam)

Impact Weapon Hard (ASP Baton)
Impact Weapon Soft (ASP Baton)
Empty Hands Hard – punches, kicks elbow strikes, and knee strikes
Empty Hands Soft – joint locks and grounding techniques
Other (K9 bites, Mounted Patrol Unit, weapons of opportunity)
CEW display
CEW deployed

Overall there were 446 residents who interacted with Police officers and were identified in the following manner; Black – 81 subjects (18%), East Southeast Asian – 21 subjects (5%), Indigenous – 14 subjects (3%), Latino – 6 subjects (1%), Middle Eastern – 24 Subjects (6%), South Asian – 6 subjects (1%), White – 294 subjects (66%).

LocationUse of Force Incidents
Divison 1180
Divison 2151
Divison 388
Number of Use of Force Incidents by Division

Early this month the Hamilton Police released additional unfiltered raw data use of force data information outlining where the interaction occurred, the occurrence type, how the call originated and what police unit was involved in the interaction. You can download an excel version here

HCCI has a number of concerns about the report and data.

  1. Why is the report centered around perceived race of residents? The use of perceived data renders the report misleading, inconclusive, and unreliable. There were over 45 instance where the race of residents were unclear. How can we extrapolate any real information and trends from a data set that is unclear and not reliable.
  2. When 179 officers with less than five years experience in the force account for most use of force interactions, the public deserves to know. But how can we know when the Police Act says that the Chief of Police or Commissioner is allowed to delete (destroy) the names of police officers in the report no later than 30 days after an incident report is submitted? Section 14.5 (3.1) of the Equipment and Use of Force Regulation, which sets out that Part B, which contains the officer name, must be destroyed within 30 days after submission and came into effect on July 5, 2010.
  3. When Police Officers with 0-5 years of experience account for 179 use of force incidents the public needs to know if there are repeat occurrences, repeat officers using Empty hands hard and soft, repeat officers using CEW when responding to residents in medical crisis etc.

Slidedeck outlining concerns from HCCI (presented to the Hamilton Police Service Board on 29th July 2021)