Police Use of force has been defined as the “amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject”. This amount, however, should be the minimum needed to eliminate the threat presented, minimising the risk and solving a situation. Police must follow their guidelines and they need to be able to assess the situation and take in considerations a number of facts and factors in order to avoid or use the level of force required, and that they are authorized to use force only in specified circumstances i.e. when dealing with, persons under the influence of alcohol or drugs or against those who jeopardise the safety of police and civilians.

The US department of justice outlines five levels of force appropriate to respond to the situation at hand; Officer presence – no force is used, Verbalization, Empty-Hand Control, Lethal Force and Less-Lethal Methods. Police must take into consideration several facts in order to apply the right level of using force to handle a situation; a police officer must have the confidence, the knowledge and the required level of training to avoid abusing human rights and assuring the public that police are using their power appropriately.

The police must know and understand, promote and protect internationally recognised human rights, in every country, especially those relevant to police work i.e. Articles 3,5,7,9,11,19 and 20 of the UDHR. As well police must act to protect citizens’ rights, as well as their own rights and act within the law and understand that they are not above it. Police action may strengthen or weaken the public support necessary to sustain a viable democracy. When the law enforcer becomes the lawbreaker, public then see such act as an assault on human dignity, on the law itself and on all institutions of public authority. Ensuring that law enforcers and others who hold power in public trust do not miss use it has always been a serious concern for the judiciary. Lacey (Wainrib 2006 P45) reports more than 150 allegations of young girls and women were raped by UN peacekeepers in the Congo. Police in Australia have established for example the Ethical Standard Department in Victoria to investigate human rights abuse allegations which the unit did in cases such as the allegation about unlawful use of batons against protesters in Victoria 1993-1994, however, police must accept accountability and punish those who responsible as part of any successful police reform.

Author Dhafir Al Shammery

Dhafir is one of the highest qualified managers in security with a Master degree in policing, intelligence & Counter Terrorism. Dhafir's higher education obtained in the security studies enables him to implement and execute the right security measures, policies, strategies and methodologies required. Dhafir has been working in the Security Industry since 1998 and been the security consultant for a number of companies within Australia and overseas. Dhafir participations in conferences, discussions and strategic studies in the security field nationally and internationally have added to his knowledge and have a significant impact on his performance and role to be one of the highest qualified managers in the security industry field.