A report being presented to the Kingston Police Services Board indicates that 75 uses of force were reported by Kingston Police officers from January to December 2022, including 41 individual reports and 34 team reports. The 75 reported uses of force stem from 66 separate incidents. During some incidents, officers deployed multiple use of force options. In total, 129 different use of force options were utilized by Kingston Police officers in 2022.
According to Kingston Police, officers are required to file a Use of Force Report whenever they:
- Draw (display) a handgun or carbine in the presence of a member of the public;
- Point a firearm at a person;
- Discharge a firearm;
- Use a weapon other than a firearm on another person; or
- Use physical force on another person that results in an injury requiring medical attention (this includes injury to another officer involved in the incident).
In terms of the leading methods of force used in 2022, 65 reports were filed when officers displayed (23) and pointed (43) their firearms. “In these incidents, the firearms were displayed or pointed because the suspects either were extremely violent and/or known or suspected to be armed with firearms or other weapons,” the report notes.
Of the 65 reports involving the display or pointing of a firearm, 20 were “in relation to the planned execution of warrants,” while the remaining incidents involved “wanted persons” or “calls for service.” The report notes that “many of these incidents involved a response by multiple officers.”
Aside from the use of firearms, Kingston Police officers deployed CEWs (conducted energy weapons, commonly referred to as Tasers) 13 times in 2022. According to the report, CEWs were deployed “during calls involving subjects who were high-risk, intoxicated, barricaded, and/or combative.” During these incidents, “subjects were armed with firearms, knives, bear spray, fireworks, and/or [another] object that could be used as a weapon.”
The report also notes a single incident of “accidental CEW discharge” in 2022; however, the weapon’s probes did not hit anyone during the incident.
When it comes to engaging the use of force, Kingston Police officers follow the Ontario Use of Force Model, which weighs the options available against the perceived circumstances at the time. According to the report, “the selection of a force option is based on a number of variables, including but not limited to the subject, the circumstances of the encounter, the degree of resistance, and the nature of the offence. During the encounter, the member is constantly reassessing the situation and may change the force option one or more times.”
In terms of how the numbers for 2022 compared to statistics from the previous year, the report indicates a decrease from the 120 uses of force that were filed in 2021. That year, 71 individual reports and 39 team reports were submitted, for a total of 91 separate incidents.
The 2022 Use of Force Report will be presented by Acting Chief Scott Fraser to members of the Kingston Police Services Board at a public meeting on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, at 12 p.m.