Use of Force



The term use of force refers to the right of an individual or authority to settle conflicts or prevent certain actions by applying measures to either: a) dissuade another party from a particular course of action, or b) physically intervene to stop them. Use of force may be employed by police, corrections, or other security personnel to deter crime. It may also exercised by the the executive branch (i.e., through the president, prime minister, premier, governor or mayor) of a political jurisdiction, deploying the police or military to maintain public order. The use of force is governed by statute and is usually authorized in a progressive series of actions, referred to as a "use of force continuum.


When a conflict is between parties having the same standing, observers often recommend the use of negotiation or other "conflict resolution" techniques. When a conflict is between a lawbreaker and a law enforcer, use of force comes into play when the lawbreaker refuses to desist, or attempts to flee from a serious offense. The continuum of force progresses from verbal orders, through physical restraint, up to lethal force. The general rule for application of force is that only necessary force may be used. When force is applied by an individual (for example, to protect life, or property), the amount of force permissible is, likewise, only that which is reasonable and necessary under the circumstances.


When a level of force beyond verbal commands is used, the individual or authority authorizing the force is accountable for the degree of force applied. In the case of lethal force, other levels of force must have been attempted first unless lethal force is the only way to minimize loss of life. When the use of military force is employed by the state towards another political entity for defensive purposes, international law requires that the principle of proportionality be applied.


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Use of force".




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