POLICE have used force more times in the area covering central Bournemouth than anywhere else in Dorset, figures show.

The statistics reveal there were 420 uses of force by police in the Bournemouth South area from April 1 to June 30 this year.

Weymouth had the second highest number at 318, while Poole had 256.

Bournemouth North saw 133 uses, the county’s eastern division 127, North Dorset 57 and Purbeck 38.

A police spokesperson said: “As these figures illustrate, Bournemouth South is one of the busiest sections in the force with a large number of incidents requiring a police response.

“In addition to the resident population, Bournemouth, as a tourist destination, also has regular visitors throughout the year.

“It is therefore not unexpected to see Bournemouth South featuring heavily in these statistics.”

There were 201 uses of force in custody, 82 by firearms officers, 30 by traffic officers and 30 by the police development unit. The special constabulary used force 27 times.

The figures are the first since the government introduced a new way for forces to record use of force.

As the Daily Echo reported last week, there were 1,572 incidents involving the use of force in that period, out of 23,193 incidents attended by officers.

Since some incidents involved more than one kind of force being used, the total number of uses of force reached 2,041.

The main kind of force used in Dorset was physical restraint, accounting for 1,136 uses in the period.

Restraint equipment was used 592 times, irritant spray 118, a physical strike 100 times, Tasers 32 times and “other” 58 times. Batons were used forcefully three times, firearms once and a police dog once.

Police recorded prevention of harm as a reason for using force in 425 cases, while apprehension of suspects accounted for 325 uses. Risk of serious injury to another person was cited in 288 cases, and risk of serious injury to police in 260. But there was no reason recorded for 327 uses of force.

Dorset Police has said 53 officers were assaulted in the incidents in question, with 26 per cent of injuries to the face or head. Ten officers were spat at.

Alcohol was recorded as the major contributory factor in 30 cases.