Police enforce social order through the legitimized use of force. Use of force describes the "amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject" . The levels, or continuum, of force police use include basic verbal and physical restraint, less-lethal force and lethal force.
The amount of force police use should be the minimum amount needed to eliminate the threat presented, thereby minimizing the risk and severity of any injury that may occur.
Police should also:
Ensure that those injured receive medical aid.
Ensure that the family of any injured person is notified.
Officers receive guidance from their individual agencies, but no universal set of rules governs when officers should use force and how much.
The level of force an officer uses will vary based on the situation. Because of this variation, guidelines for the use of force are based on many factors, including:
The police department's experience.
Federal and state mandates.
Available law enforcement technologies.
The complex relationships that may exist between the police and citizens in a given jurisdiction.
Excessive use of force is rare .
The frequency of police use of force events that may be defined as justified or excessive is difficult to estimate .
Police Use of Force | National Institute of Justice