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The use of force by law enforcement agencies has been condemned by many who see it as a serious violation of human rights. Consequently, law enforcement officers are viewed negatively by the public. While this may be true, there are valid reasons for the application of force when dealing with suspected criminals.
This paper discusses the use of force by law enforcement officers and attempts to explain why it is necessary to allow the use of force in the enforcement of law and administration of justice.
The decision to use force is a very critical one for law enforcement officers. Although it is possible for an officer to complete his or her service as a law enforcer without being faced by a need to make such a decision, most officers have to make such decisions time and again. Ordinarily, the use of force may involve using firearms or other deadly equipment to deal with lawbreakers. While the application of force may be condoned on specific occasions, it is necessary for law enforcement officers to know when to apply force and when not to.
In general, the application of excessive force by law enforcers has been cited as an area that concerns many in society. Alongside others, the media plays a very critical role in exposing instances of extreme use of force by law enforcers while on duty. Considering that the use of force may be critical for law enforcement and maintenance of order in the society, it is imperative for governments to provide clear guidelines that must be followed by all those responsible for enforcing the law.
Justification for the Use of Force
By and large, the use of force to direct or control people’s behavior is despised in many places around the world. While democracy is preferred by many, war and use of force is less tolerated as a way of dealing with matters of law. This notwithstanding, law enforcement officers are permitted to apply force in some isolated cases. As a result, law enforcement officers find themselves in conflict with the public most of the time. Nevertheless, law enforcement officers may be allowed to use force for various reasons.
First, the use of force is justified when a suspected criminal attempts to resist arrest by a law enforcement officer. A suspected criminal may opt to flee from a law enforcer, especially when it is clear to him or her that he or she is on the wrong and may end up in prison if found guilty. To ensure that such a criminal does not escape, it is necessary for a law enforcer to pursue him or her and use force if necessary.
Many incidents have also been witnessed of dangerous attacks directed at law enforcers in the course of providing services to the public. Without the knowledge of law enforcers, suspected criminals have on several occasions used dangerous weapons to scare law enforcers to resist arrest. Consequently, this has left the officers with injuries.
When confronted with armed criminals, law enforcement officers may have no option but to use force. There have been several incidents of criminals emerging with heavy arms ready to accomplish their evil intentions at whatever cost. Typical scenarios include robbery with violence and terrorist attacks, which often cause irreparable damage to targeted individuals. To survive and ensure justice for innocent citizens, law enforcers have been compelled to use force. The application of force is very instrumental in the fight against crime in the society.
Although the application of force by law enforcement officers is vital in some instances, it is the responsibility of governments to ensure that law enforcement agencies only apply force after careful consideration. More often than not, law enforcement officers tend to use force to protect themselves against armed resistance by suspected criminals.