There have been several issues refering the policies that underline the usage of force within the field of jurisprudence enforcement. Favorable sentiments, negative expostulations, and indecisive feelings about the usage of force have varied throughout the populace every bit good as within the condemnable justness system when it comes to this policy. For a figure of old ages, it has been highly hard in finding the proper definition of what is considered to be the usage of force or the proper usage of force, particularly in respects to jurisprudence enforcement. Ironically, there have been tonss of surveies on constabulary and the usage of force and research concluded that there is no individual accepted definition.

“ Must constabularies use force? ” Not merely should the reply to this inquiry include the fortunes environing the state of affairs but it should besides include the sum of force able to be used in each alone state of affairs. This inquiry will particularly profit a constabulary officer when finding the sum of force that should be exerted on condemnable suspects.

Overall, in order for one to to the full understand the assorted definitions of usage of force, one must be able to appreciate the background, causes, and ways to cut down the usage of force. The basic job is the deficiency of modus operandi, national systems for roll uping informations on incidents in which constabulary

usage force during the normal class of responsibility and on the extent of inordinate force.

Literature Review

The term, “ usage of force ” , describes a right of an person or authorization to settle struggles or prevent certain actions by using steps to either: dissuade another party from a peculiar class of action, or physically intervene to halt them ( Burke, 2005 ) . The authorization of the constabulary to utilize force represents one of the most misunderstood powers granted to representatives of authorities. Use of force from a jurisprudence enforcement position is utilizing any agencies necessary to convey a volatile state of affairs to a more manageable and/or resolved province.

Adler ( 2007 ) found as prima constabulary historiographers have demonstrated, early jurisprudence hatchet mans worked in a hostile environment. Established during an epoch of surging force, when public violences were platitude and when societal divisions cleaved metropoliss into viing vicinities, American police officers, in Chicago and elsewhere, faced a daunting undertaking. They were expected to keep order, yet they lacked legitimacy and remained shackled to a partizan, frequently corrupt, institutional construction in which they were encouraged to utilize their influence and musculus for overtly political undertakings, such as safeguarding their frequenters and squelching labour unrest. All the piece, American jurisprudence hatchet mans battled to command regard and to command the streets.

Types of Force

The officer has a scope of force options from which to take. For case, constabulary officers are authorized to utilize both psychological and physical force to grok felons and work out offenses. Sometimes, the mere presence of the constabulary officer is adequate control. At other times, verbal bids are needed. The conformity clasp ( physical force ) is the following phase of control, followed by the usage of non-lethal arms such as the wand or chemical spray. Last, a police officer may fall back to the usage of deathly force, which by all agencies should seek to be avoided unless deemed necessary ( Douthit, 1975 ) .

It is widely regarded that the constabulary in any given society have a hard occupation to carry through. Covering with felons and puting themselves in injuries manner on a twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours footing is decidedly an admirable naming. Although seen as hard, there is an implicit in sentiment in the general populace that the occupation of jurisprudence enforcement officers is comparatively straightforward. Polices are faced with tough moral determinations daily. They are to make up one’s mind when and how to move when presented with misdemeanors of the jurisprudence. They are given the usage of force as a agency of offense bar but frequently times the really use of this force is questioned and sometimes, deemed unneeded or inordinate ( Engel,1997 ) . When the usage of force exceeds that which is necessary to carry through their lawful intent, or when their intent is non lawful apprehensiveness or self-defence but, instead personal revenge, it is defined as inordinate usage of force and is unethical and illegal ( Pollock, 2010 ) .

The Bureau of Justice Statistics ( BJS ) in Data Collection on Police Use of Force, states that “ aˆ¦the legal trial of inordinate forceaˆ¦is whether the constabulary officer moderately believed that such force was necessary to carry through a legitimate constabulary purposeaˆ¦ ” However, there are no universally recognized definitions of “ sensible ” and “ necessary ” because the footings are subjective. A tribunal in one legal power may specify “ sensible ” or “ necessary ” otherwise than a tribunal in a 2nd legal power. More to the point is an apprehension of the “ improper ” usage of force, which can be divided into two classs: “ unneeded ” and “ inordinate. ” The unneeded usage of force would be the application of force where there is no justification for its usage, while an inordinate usage of force would be the application of more force than required where usage of force is necessary ( U.S. Dept of Justice, 2008 ) .

An inordinate sum of force can run from a terrible adult male managing during apprehension that seems or is unneeded to inordinate usage of non-lethal force. The usage of non-lethal force can sometimes be considered inordinate, when the utilizations of chemical spray, bean bag guns, or tasers, are over used to decide a job ( McDonald,2003 ) . However, since they are non-lethal they can be seen as sensible usage of force. Therefore, the sum of force a policeman uses does non entirely depend on himself but his or her discretion. Adams ( 1995 ) , states that specifying inordinate force in order to understand and command is non a simple affair. Every state of affairs that perchance involves the usage of force is alone. Situations may be similar or seem to mirror one another but no state of affairs is the same. By state of affairss changing from the differences in people, parts, beliefs, and backgrounds to orient a peculiar definition, or make certain guidelines for the usage of force is hard. The quandary, harmonizing to Rahtz ( 2003 ) , is the deficiency of a clear understanding on what constitutes legitimate usage of force. The public, every bit good as the constabulary, understand that in some state of affairss, force is non merely necessary and ineluctable, but is required, if serious hurt, decease or devastation of belongings is to be avoided ( Buker,2007 ) .

However, police officers must larn to utilize force legitimately. You can non utilize deadly force at will or utilize force when it is non allowable. The thought and ability of ‘managing force ‘ by constabulary officers is straight related to set uping duty and answerability to promote the usage of sensible force ( Ng, 2009 ) . Some people believe constabulary should non hold the power to utilize force, no affair what the state of affairs. They believe everything can be solved along peaceable footings in which no 1 can be injured or killed ( Ng, 2009 ) . Police are allowed to utilize force during the class of their day-to-day activities. Force can be used to do apprehensions, maintain order, or maintain the peace. The of import thing is that the constabulary officer is able to derive control of the state of affairs. How the officer additions control is left up to his or her judgement: In other words, an officer most frequently attempts to take control of a confrontation by specifying the state of affairs ( Alpert, Smith, 1994 ) .


A major cause of overexploitation of force, perchance taking to patrol ferociousness is the belief that constabulary officers are “ soldiers ” in a “ war ” on offense. The war outlook says it is all right to make certain things that would non be allowed under normal conditions. Police adopt this outlook because of citizens, whose fright of offense has reached an all-time high, and because of politicians, who publicize the impression that tough bulls prevent offense ( Albert, Smith, 1994 ) . Harmon ( 2008 ) , indicates Haduring an apprehension, an officer might give verbal bids to a suspect to halt, to maintain his custodies seeable, to turn around and put his custodies against the wall, to subject to a pat-down, to set his custodies behind his dorsum for handcuffing, to come along to the auto, to acquire in, to acquire booked at the station. Most suspects are compliant and necessitate no more than a guiding arm, but those who refuse or resist, and on occasion those who do non, may arouse a physical response. Subjects of constabulary utilizations of force frequently respond with allegations of jurisprudence enforcement ferociousness. Sometimes these allegations are groundless, a merchandise of misconstruing what might warrant lawful force or of false accusal ( Matthew, 2006 ) . Other times they represent a merely demand for acknowledgment and damages for damaged organic structures and liquors. Clearly, when the jurisprudence confronts claims under these legislative acts that an officer used excessively much force during an apprehension, the cardinal inquiry for federal liability is what constitutes constitutionally inordinate force under the Eighth Amendment ; the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution enforce cruel and unusual penalty ( Matthew, 2006 ) .

In our society, constabulary are in a really unstable state of affairs when it comes to the sum of force they can use when covering with a civilian suspect. Whether it be physical force, persuasion, or coercion ; they must utilize discretion when make up one’s minding what class of action best suits the state of affairs ( Douthit, 1975 ) . Discretion is the authorization to do determinations without mention to specific regulations or facts, utilizing alternatively one ‘s ain judgement ; allows for individualisation and informality in the disposal of justness ( Buker, 2005 ) . This gives the constabulary leeway as to when force is necessary and when it is non, within certain guidelines. For case, a police officer can non crush up a adult male for robbing a shop. But, if the robber battered person in the procedure of the robbery the police officer could. He could make this because there was a clear menace of danger to himself or to another officer or human being. Police must take the precise class of action to suit the clip, because if they are excessively indulgent or to forceful, even when covering with the pettiest things, they can be chastised by higher-ups and the populace.

The force the constabulary usage should non transcend the menace of force that could be applied on them by person else. As one can see in the many instance histories the inordinate usage of force is really seldom punished on legal footings ( Matthew, 2006 ) . The constabulary about ever acquire exonerated from the charged placed on them, even though significant grounds may be in the prosecution ‘s favour. Why is this? Bing that the constabulary enforce the jurisprudence, they become correspondent with the jurisprudence ( Adams, 1995 ) . When officers are placed in state of affairss where inordinate force can be used, they use this cognition of past case in point to acquire off with their inordinate aggression.

The 1991 whipping of California automobilist Rodney King will hold an impact on jurisprudence enforcement for old ages to come. The videotape of the horrifying whipping, broadcast countrywide, resulted in public indignation over police ferociousness. The broadcast medium showed three Los Angeles constabularies officers crushing with metal wands, kicking and stamping on a apparently defenceless African American male as their supervisor watched ( Gray, 2006 ) . Regardless of the videotape, a jury in Simi Valley concluded that the grounds was non equal to convict these officers. Everyone seemed to believe that the constabulary used inordinate force in collaring King. This instance caused a particular committee to look into whether ferociousness was widespread within the constabulary section. Police sections across the state likewise reviewed their ain policies on inordinate force. Despite these attempts, citizen ailments about constabulary ferociousness have increased since the Rodney King whipping. Where an officer ‘s initial usage of force is provoked and lawful, the line between a legal apprehension and an improper want of civil rights within the aggravated assault guidelines is comparatively thin. The line between sensible force and a condemnable inordinate force whipping is thin so. There is no in-between land, no buffer zone. It ‘s either sensible or condemnable. One excess wand work stoppage, jostle or command holds can do the difference between an officer making his occupation and being sent to prison ( Johnson, 2007 ) .

Wayss to Reduce Use of Force

In order to cut down the improper and inordinate usage of force, the jurisprudence must be enforced in its entirety. Police must non be able to acquire off with the usage of inordinate force on undeserving wrongdoers. Police who commit this offense should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the jurisprudence. They should be made as illustrations, so this offense does non go on in the hereafter ( Alpert, Smith, 1994 ) . It is non a inquiry of should or whether, but when and how much.

Guidelines define when lifelessly force should be used: “ The usage of such force is prescribed by province and federal legislative acts. In an attempt to control the discretional power used by constabulary, there is a set of written processs ( Burns, Crawford, 1998 ) . Supplying a model for constabulary to follow is one method employed to seek and antagonize single determination devising by seeking to forestall officers from diverting from process. Another method used to command police more exhaustively is the creative activity of watchdog units within the section. Often times, this comes in the signifier of an internal personal businesss office. This is a section within a constabulary section which is purely in being to guarantee that constabulary are moving responsibly and besides to look into any allegations against officers that may originate.

The Continuum Scale is believed to be one of the most efficient beginnings used to guarantee the appropriate sum of force is used. A usage of force continuum is a standard that provides jurisprudence enforcement functionaries & A ; security guards with guidelines as to how much force may be used against a resisting topic in a given state of affairs. In certain ways it is similar to the military regulations of battle. It was designed as a general usher to utilizing force in a confrontation or apprehension state of affairs and to do certain constabulary officers use the appropriate degree of force necessary in the public presentation of their responsibilities ( Burns, Crawford, 2009 ) . The graduated table will help officers in using the jurisprudence and departmental policy in usage of force state of affairss, documenting the usage of force, and showing testimony in a tribunal proceeding. The intent of these theoretical accounts is to clear up, both for officers and citizens, the complex topic of usage of force by jurisprudence officers.


With pertinent unfavorable judgments of the usage of force by jurisprudence enforcement, there has been a development of a Police Training Model to help with trying to cut down the usage of force by constabulary officers. For case, as of 1999, the COPS Office provided support to PERF and the Reno ( Nevada ) Police Department to develop an alternate national theoretical account for developing new officers that would integrate community patroling and problem-based acquisition techniques. The resulting Police Training Officer ( PTO ) Program addresses the traditional responsibilities of patroling in the context of specific vicinity jobs and includes several sections on the usage of force. The PTO Program is an alternate to the 30-year-old San Jose Field Training Officer ( FTO ) Program. Many bureaus are utilizing the lineations of the PTO Program to develop their ain in-house plans adapted to their peculiar demands ( US. Dept of Justice, 2008 ) .


The literature is in general understanding that constabulary are in a really unstable state of affairs when it comes to the sum of force they can use when covering with a civilian suspect. There is no clear definition of usage of force because the footings are subjective. The methodological analysis used in this research was a qualitative attack. Many early surveies utilized official study statistics to mensurate the result of the variables use of force and inordinate usage of force.

Contacts between Police and the Public, a 1999 BJS study, estimated that less than half of 1 per centum of an estimated 44 million people who had face-to-face contact with a police officer were threatened with or really experient force. Other surveies report similar statistics. It is these few state of affairss, nevertheless, that attract public attending. Robert K. Olsen, former Minneapolis Police Chief and Past President, Police Executive Research Forum ( PERF ) , early in 2004 called the usage of force “ the individual most volatile issue confronting police sections. ” He noted that “ merely one usage of force incident can dramatically change the stableness of a constabulary section and its relationship with a community ” ( U. S. Dept of Justice, 2008 ) .

Besides, harmonizing to International Association of Chiefs of Police ( 2001 ) , one of the most publically debated facets of constabulary usage of inordinate force during the last twelvemonth, is the racial feature of participants in usage of force brushs. There were 8,148 reported incidents of constabulary usage of force in which the subscribers ( police sections ) included racial descriptions for officers and suspects. Of this sum, 39 % involved white officers utilizing force on white topics, 44 % involved white officers utilizing force on African American topics, 7 % involved African American officers utilizing force on African American topics and 3.4 % involved African American officers utilizing force on white topics.

Overall, police section policies can hold a important impact on how force is used in street-level brushs, says a 2003 survey by the Community Relations Services of the U.S. Department of Justice, Principles of Good Policing: Avoiding Violence Between Police and Citizens. The BJS Data Collection statistics reported, stresses the demand for police executives to better preparation of recruits and constabularies officers on the usage of force and the techniques for minimising its application. It besides so stresses the demand to cut down the negative perceptual experience of constabulary officers and the usage of force within the populace ‘s sentiment ( U.S. Dept of Justice, 2008 ) .


Several cardinal points could hold been operationalized otherwise. For case, every twenty-four hours, jurisprudence enforcement officers face danger while transporting out their duties. When covering with a unsafe or unpredictable state of affairs, police officers normally have really small clip to measure it and find the proper response. It is apparent that the proper preparation every bit good as other guidelines can enable the officer to respond decently to the menace or possible menace and respond with the appropriate tactics to turn to the state of affairs, perchance including some degree of force, if necessary, given the fortunes ( U.S. Dept of Justice, 2008 ) . The demand for improved informations aggregation systems can besides be justified by sing the legal liabilities that jurisprudence enforcement bureaus have with their usage of force, from both deadly and less-than-lethal arms. The research conducted over the last 30 old ages on constabulary usage of force systematically calls for improved informations aggregation at the local and national degree.


In short, the intent of this survey was to find the significance of usage of force, who can utilize force when and how much. The term of usage of force describes a right of an person or authorization to settle struggles or prevent certain actions by using steps to either: dissuade another party from a peculiar class of action, or physically intervene to halt them ( Buker, 2005 ) . A major cause for constabulary usage of force is the belief that constabulary officers are solders in a war on offense. The continuum graduated table is one of the most effectual beginnings use to guarantee the appropriate sum of force is being used. All in all, one may see the usage of force as a glass half empty, and some view the glass half full, which merely states it all depends on how you look at the state of affairs.

Plants Cited

Adams, K. ( 1995 ) . ‘Measuring the prevalence of constabulary maltreatment of force. ‘ In W.A. Geller and H. Toch ( Eds. ) , And Justice for All: Understanding and Controlling Police Abuse of Force. Washington, DC: Police Executive Research Forum.

Adler, J. ( 2007 ) . Shoot to Kill: The Use of Deadly Force by the Chicago Police, 1875-1920. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 38 ( 2 ) , 233-254. Retrieved August 26, 2009, from Academic Search Complete database.

Alpert, S. ( 1994 ) . How Reasonable is the Resonable Man. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.

Buker, H. ( 2005 ) . Understanding Police Use of Force / Understanding Police Use of Force: Military officers, Suspects and Reciprocity / Into the Killing Zone: A Cop ‘s Eye View of Deadly Force. International Journal of Police Science & A ; Management, 7 ( 3 ) , 208-217. Retrieved August 24, 2009, from Academic Search Complete database

Douthit, N. ( 2003 ) . Enforcement and non-enforcement functions in patroling. Journal of Police Science and Administratin, 339.

Engel, R. ( 2008 ) . Revisiting Critical Issues in Police Use of Force. Criminology and Public Policy, 557-561.

Gray, M. ( 2006, October ) . The L.A. Riots:15 old ages after Rodney King. Time.

International Association of Chiefs of Police. ( 2001 ) . Police Use Of Force In America. Retrieved July 6, 2005, from

Matthew, A. ( 2006 ) . Understanding Police Use of Force: Military officers Suspects and Reciprocity. Comteporary Sociology, 69-71.

McDonald, J. ( 2003 ) . Police Use of Force: Analyzing the Relationship between Calls for Service and the Balance of Police Force and Suspect Resistance. Journal of Criminal Justice, 119-127.

Ng, N. ( 2009 ) . Rules for the Use of Force. International Peace Operations, 39-42.

Rahtz, H. ( 2003 ) Understanding Police Use of Force. Criminal Justice Press: New York