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Use of force - introduction

The law recognises that there are situations where Police Officers may be required to use force.  The primary responsibility for using force rests with the officers, who are answerable to the law.

 Officers should consider three core questions before using force. 

  • Would the use of force have a lawful objective (eg: the prevention of injury to others or damage to property, or the effecting of a lawful arrest) and, if so, how immediate and grave is the threat posed?
  • Are there any means, short of the use of force, capable of attaining the lawful objective identified?
  • Having regard to the nature and gravity of the threat, and the potential for adverse consequences to arise from the use of force (including the risk of escalation and the exposure of others to harm) what is the minimum level of force required to attain the objective identified, and would the use of that level of force be proportionate or excessive?

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