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Contents:
  1. Principles of Good Policing
  2. (i) Key principles of democratic policing (OSCE)
  3. Site Index
  4. The Principle of Minimum Force | SpringerLink

In developing such rules and regulations, Governments and law enforcement agencies shall keep the ethical issues associated with the use of force and firearms constantly under review.

Principles of Good Policing

Governments and law enforcement agencies should develop a range of means as broad as possible and equip law enforcement officials with various types of weapons and ammunition that would allow for a differentiated use of force and firearms. These should include the development of non-lethal incapacitating weapons for use in appropriate situations, with a view to increasingly restraining the application of means capable of causing death or injury to persons.

The Influence of Sir Robert Peel on Modern Policing--CJS360-BE

For the same purpose, it should also be possible for law enforcement officials to be equipped with self-defensive equipment such as shields, helmets, bullet-proof vests and bullet-proof means of transportation, in order to decrease the need to use weapons of any kind. The development and deployment of non-lethal incapacitating weapons should be carefully evaluated in order to minimize the risk of endangering uninvolved persons, and the use of such weapons should be carefully controlled.

Law enforcement officials, in carrying out their duty, shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms. They may use force and firearms only if other means remain ineffective or without any promise of achieving the intended result.

(i) Key principles of democratic policing (OSCE)

Whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall:. Where injury or death is caused by the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials, they shall report the incident promptly to their superiors, in accordance with principle Governments shall ensure that arbitrary or abusive use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials is punished as a criminal offence under their law.

Exceptional circumstances such as internal political instability or any other public emergency may not be invoked to justify any departure from these basic principles. Law enforcement officials shall not use firearms against persons except in self-defence or defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury, to prevent the perpetration of a particularly serious crime involving grave threat to life, to arrest a person presenting such a danger and resisting their authority, or to prevent his or her escape, and only when less extreme means are insufficient to achieve these objectives.


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In any event, intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life. In the circumstances provided for under principle 9, law enforcement officials shall identify themselves as such and give a clear warning of their intent to use firearms, with sufficient time for the warning to be observed, unless to do so would unduly place the law enforcement officials at risk or would create a risk of death or serious harm to other persons, or would be clearly inappropriate or pointless in the circumstances of the incident.

Rules and regulations on the use of firearms by law enforcement officials should include guidelines that:.

Sir Robert Peel's Policing Principles

As everyone is allowed to participate in lawful and peaceful assemblies, in accordance with the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Governments and law enforcement agencies and officials shall recognize that force and firearms may be used only in accordance with principles 13 and In the dispersal of assemblies that are unlawful but non-violent, law enforcement officials shall avoid the use of force or, where that is not practicable, shall restrict such force to the minimum extent necessary.

In the dispersal of violent assemblies, law enforcement officials may use firearms only when less dangerous means are not practicable and only to the minimum extent necessary. Law enforcement officials shall not use firearms in such cases, except under the conditions stipulated in principle 9.


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Law enforcement officials, in their relations with persons in custody or detention, shall not use force, except when strictly necessary for the maintenance of security and order within the institution, or when personal safety is threatened. Law enforcement officials, in their relations with persons in custody or detention, shall not use firearms, except in self-defence or in the defence of others against the immediate threat of death or serious injury, or when strictly necessary to prevent the escape of a person in custody or detention presenting the danger referred to in principle 9.

By Timothy Roufa. The purpose of the police force is to prevent crime and maintain order. Police depend on the approval and trust of the public in order to effectively do their jobs. The ultimate goal of policing is to achieve voluntary compliance with the law in the community. Police must be unwavering in their duties and adherence to the law, maintaining impartiality and avoiding the temptation to be swayed by public opinion.

Site Index

Police must maintain the public favor and cooperation by providing impartial and independent law enforcement services, as opposed to succumbing and pandering to the whims of the public. They must extend the same courtesy and respect to everyone, regardless of economic or social standing.

The use of force and physical control is to be used as a last resort , only when other forms of persuasion have failed. Police officers must remember that they, too, are members of the public and that their purpose is to serve and protect the public. They advocate for the prevention of crime, rather than the repression of crime through militaristic and punitive measures, while simultaneously recognizing that the power of police is dependent on public approval and respect.

These principles strike an important balance between the need for crime reduction efficacy and the importance of maintaining a positive relationship with the community by relying as little on force as possible, and using "physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient" 6th principle This community-focused philosophy of policing based on respect and approval of the public embodies the central ideals of good and effective policing; so where did the NYPD go wrong?

The first of Peel's principles is to "prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment. He makes it clear that police should "use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on a particular occasion for achieving a police objective. In June of this year, the American Civil Liberties Union ACLU concluded, in report titled War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing , that "American policing has become excessively militarized through the use of weapons and tactics designed for the battlefield" and that this militarization "unfairly impacts people of color and undermines individual liberties, and it has been allowed to happen in the absence of any meaningful public discussion.

We can see the use of abuse of these military weapons in our streets today.


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The NYPD has been using military weapons against protesters during the Eric Garner protesters in New York though they do have a history of using less of a militarized response than smaller cities. These weapons have been used in response to crowds throwing small objects at the police, but they have also affected protesters who have remained peaceful; they include pepper spray and long range acoustic devices LRADS.

LRADs are sonic-weapons that release sound waves as high as decibels and cause acoustic trauma to those exposed.

The Principle of Minimum Force | SpringerLink

They were developed by the US military in after an insurgent attack on Yemen, and have been used during protests in Ferguson and during Occupy Wall Street. Peel made it clear that the prevention of crime should not be obtained by military and severe legal punishment, such as the arrest of over protestors in two days by the NYPD. Prevention is meant to sojourn militarization and punitive measures, and this is what police should be doing. Police are meant to prevent crime and disorder, not use excessive physical force on protesters and marchers.