Police are charged with maintaining order and keeping people safe. In fulfilling those duties, they will sometimes need to use force on behalf of the state to protect the public and themselves from harm.

Police officers are trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary.

The Criminal Law Act 1967, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, Common Law and the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 and the rights and freedoms contained within the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights) govern the police use of force.

Officers are confronted with difficult situations every day and should always consider when and to what extent force is to be used.

The use of force has to have a lawful objective (eg, the prevention of injury to others or damage to property, or the effecting of a lawful arrest).

Use of force includes the following tactics:

  • handcuffing (compliant and non-compliant)
  • unarmed skills (including pressure points, strikes, restraints and take downs)
  • use of dogs
  • drawing or use of baton
  • drawing or use of irritant spray
  • limb / Body restraints
  • spit guard
  • shield
  • conductive Energy Device (C.E.D. currently TASER - in any of the 7 categories of use)
  • AEP: aimed or discharged
  • firearms: aimed or discharged
  • other / improvised