POLICE are using a rising number of force tactics, including the use of police dogs, against children according to new figures.

Home Office statistics show that Greater Manchester Police used methods such as handcuffing and physical restraints on under 18s on 3,960 occasions in 2020-21, with 23 involving children under 11.

This was up from 1,965 the year before, while during the same period officers recorded nine instances of firearms being aimed and 26 occasions when dogs were used – seven of which resulted in dog bites being inflicted.

Howard League for Penal Reform director of campaigns Andrew Neilson said: "A steep rise in the police use of force against children is a worrying trend, particularly when the levels of children arrested remain thankfully low.

"Police forces across England and Wales should review what might be behind this rise and work to reduce the number of incidents involving children."

But police chiefs have argued that officers must protect people of all ages from harming themselves or others, often in fast-moving violent situations.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, said: "Officers have thousands of interactions with the public every day and force is not used in the vast majority of those.

"Officers receive guidance and training with the starting point being that they should attempt to resolve confrontations with the public without the need to use force."