When Can Police Use Force? (Use of Force Infographic)

It’s no secret that police often use force to handle a situation. But how is this use of force typically applied, and what happens after police use force on a suspect? This infographic covers police use of force, and police restraints. Let’s take a look.

What are the types of force police use?

Police use 6 types of force; verbal, impact, physical, electronic, chemical and firearm. Each type of force is pretty self explanatory.

Why do police use force?

Police use force for 3 main reasons; to establish control of a situation, to protect themselves or others, and to make an arrest.

How frequent are deaths from police use of force?

According to this infographic, police related deaths from use of force are rare. Occurring in one out of every 67,000 encounters with law enforcement. Or about .0015% of all face to face contacts with police.

When is use of force justified?

Most use of force is judged by it’s reasonableness. This reasoning can come from an officers training, experiences and the circumstances in the unique situation. Reasonable force is constitutional. Whereas unreasonable force is a violation of the 4th amendment. Simply because a police officer can use force, doesn’t mean they should. De-escalation is an important part of policing.

What determines the reasonableness of the force that is used?

The reasonableness of the force that is used is determined by; the severity of the crime, threat posed by suspect. Additional factors include the availability of less than lethal means, suspects mental health, suspects cooperation. And the objective facts of the encounter.

How are use of force incidents investigated”?

Use of force is investigated first through documentation of the incident, then it is subject to supervisory review. And, i the incident is unjustified, there is a potential for a civil lawsuit.

Police use of force is an important topic. And one of the ways we can improve the standards of policing, is to understand how the current system operates. If you learned something from this infographic, why not share it with your friends and family? This infographic was produced by the Police Foundation.