Police Use of Force – police brutality – reasonable force. The police have powers to arrest, enter, search, prevent offences being committed, and prevent escape. There would be little point in the having these powers if the application of such police powers were dependent upon the consent of the subject. Let’s face it, would the drug dealer consent to a search if he were carrying drugs? Would the aggressive drunk persons arrest be practical if there were no police powers to place him in the back of the van and drive him to the police station?
For this reason the police are provided with a power to use physical reasonable force. The law does not stipulate the level of force. The law says:
All uses of force by the police require that the use of force should be ‘reasonable’ in the circumstances. What is reasonable varies depending on circumstance, and legal advice can be sought on what reasonable force actually means.
Excessive use of force is unlawful. This often referred to in the media as police brutality. The police are liable for prosecution if the force used is excessive, unreasonable or unnecessary. No two sets of circumstances are the same and expert legal advice should be sought if you believe excessive force has been used.
The level of force used by police can range from taking someone’s arm to shooting them dead, depending on the circumstances.
Arrested persons often feel aggrieved when they wake up in the cells in the morning, not only with a hangover but with handcuff burns to their wrists, and grazed knees from the floor of the police van. This is often a natural consequence of a difficult arrest of a non-compliant person and does not necessarily constitute unlawful or excessive use of force by the police, or police brutality. Nor does it negate what the arrested person actually did to get arrested in the first place!
Police are now equipped with such things as Tasers, CS gas, and leg restraints all of which are designed to cause less injury to the suspect as opposed to the crushing blow of a wooden truncheon – in living memory of the author. If you believe that the police have used excessive force or wish to make allegations of police brutality then you should seek expert legal advice.