Use of force continuum

Use of force continuum
August 6, 2015 vishal saurav

Violent encounters between security personnels and individuals resisting arrest have historically resulted in injury and fre- quently in complaints about the level of force used by police. In addition to con- cern over these issues, increased civil li- ability and court-imposed limitations on the use of deadly force have stimulated the search for safe and effective less- than-lethal (LTL) force alternatives. One widely used option is oleoresin capsicum (OC) aerosol, commonly called pepper spray.

What is the use of force of continuum.How should citizens and security personnels should use physical force in order tons eld defend or do their duty to protect us ?

use of force continuum is a standard that provides law enforcement officers and civilians with guidelines as to how much force may be used against a resisting subject in a given situation. In some ways, it is similar to the U.S. military’s escalation of force (EOF). The purpose of these models is to clarify, both for law enforcement officers and civilians, the complex subject of use of force. They are often central parts of law enforcement agencies’ use of force policies. Although various criminal justice agencies have developed different models of the continuum, there is no universal or standard model. Generally, each different agency will have their own use of force policy. Some agencies may separate some of the hand-to-hand based use of force. For example, take-downs and pressure point techniques may be one step before actual strikes and kicks. Also, for some agencies the use of aerosol pepper spray and electronic control devices (TASER) may fall into the same category as take-downs, or the actual strikes.

The first examples of use of force continuum were developed in the 1980s and early 1990s.Early models were depicted in various formats, including graphs, semicircular “gauges”, and linear progressions. Most often the models are presented in “stair step” fashion, with each level of force matched by a corresponding level of subject resistance, although it is generally noted that an officer need not progress through each level before reaching the final level of force. These progressions rest on the premise that officers should escalate and de-escalate their level of force in response to the subject’s actions.

Although the use of force continuum is used primarily as a training tool for law enforcement officers, it is also valuable with civilians, such as in criminal trials or hearings by police review boards. In particular, a graphical representation of a use of force continuum is useful to a jury when deciding whether an officer’s use of force was reasonable.

Example model :

While the specific progression of force varies considerably (especially the wide gap between empty hand control and deadly force) among different agencies and jurisdictions, one example of a general use of force continuum model cited in a U.S. government publications on use of force is shown below.

  1. Officer presence — the professionalism, uniform, and utility belt of the law enforcement officer and the marked vessel or vehicle the officer arrives in. The visual presence of authority is normally enough for a subject to comply with an officers lawful demands. Depending on the totality of the circumstances, a call/situation may require additional officers or on scene officers may request assistance in order to gain better control of the situation and ensure a more safe environment for all involved. It also will depend on the circumstances of the situation. For example, depending on how many people are at the scene with the officer, a larger presence may be required. However, if 10 officers arrive at a scene with only a single suspect, the public may perceive the situation as an excessive use of officer presence within the use of force continuum. In many models, the officer’s personal defense weapon or firearm unholstered and pointed at a subject falls under officer presence.

  2. Verbal commands/cooperative controls — clear and understandable verbal direction by an officer aimed at the subject. In some cases, it is necessary for the officer to include a consequence to the verbal direction so that the subject understands what will happen if the subject refuses to comply with the officer’s direction. The verbal command and the consequence must be legal and not considered excessive according to the continuum. For example, an officer could not order a disabled person in a wheel chair to stand up or be sprayed by Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) Pepper Spray.

  3. Empty- hand submission techniques, PPCT – Pressure Point Control Tactics, Control Tactics, techniques — a level of force that has a low probability of causing soft connective tissue damage or bone fractures. This would include joint manipulation techniques, applying pressure to pressure points and normal application of hand-cuffs.

  4. Hard control Techniques/Aggressive response techniques — the amount of force that has a probability of causing soft connective tissue damage or bone fractures or irritation of the skin, eyes, and mucus membranes. This would include kicks, punches, stuns and use of aerosol sprays such as oleoresin capsicum (OC) pepper spray. Some models split these techniques between empty hand, soft control and intermediate weapon techniques but only include 5 levels of the continuum.

  5. Intermediate weapons — an amount of force that would have a high probability of causing soft connective tissue damage or bone fractures. (e.g. expandable baton, baton, pepper spray, Taser, beanbag rounds, police dogs, etc.) Intermediate weapon techniques are designed to impact muscles, arms and legs, and intentionally using an intermediate weapon on the head, neck, groin, knee caps, or spine would be classified as deadly or lethal force.

  6. Lethal force/Deadly force — a force with a high probability of causing death or serious bodily injury. Serious bodily injury includes unconsciousness, protracted or obvious physical disfigurement, or protracted loss of or impairment to the function of a bodily member, organ, or the mental faculty. A firearm is the most widely recognized lethal or deadly force weapon, however, an automobile or weapon of opportunity could also be defined as a deadly force utility.

Source:Wikipedia

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