Lawyer Monthly - February 2022

In brief, what laws govern the use of force in theUK? The current laws that govern the use of force are as follows: Common Law. Any force used is unlawful unless it is used to: • Defend yourself and others. • Save life. • Effect a lawful arrest. • Prevent a breach of the peace. Sect 3 Criminal Law Act 1967. This is used to determine if the amount of force used was “reasonable” in the circumstances. This can be broken down further, as a person’s actions would have to be seen as “proportionate and necessary”. Having attended and given evidence as an expert witness in court, those two words are often debated at some length. Section 76 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. This law was introduced to try and bring together the human factor in relation to the use of force. However, in its usual way, the judicial language used can be difficult to put into language that people understand. In essence, the Act provides clarification of the operation of the existing common law and statutory defences. It neither abolishes the common law and statutory defences, nor does it change the current test that allows the use of reasonable force. There are two things that should be considered when deciding whether the force used was reasonable. These are adopted from existing case law. They are: - That a person acting for a legitimate purpose may not be able to weigh to a nicety the exact measure of any necessary action. - That evidence of a person’s having only done what the person honestly and instinctively thought was necessary for a legitimate purpose constitutes strong evidence that only reasonable action was taken by that person for that purpose. The words of Lord Morris in (Palmer v R [1971] AC 814) emphasise the difficulties often facing someone confronted by an intruder or defending himself against attack: “If there has been an attack so that 67 FEB 2022 | WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM EXPERT WITNESS defence is reasonably necessary, it will be recognised that a person defending himself cannot weigh to a nicety the exact measure of his defensive action. If the jury thought that in a moment of unexpected anguish a person attacked had only done what he honestly and instinctively thought necessary that would be the most potent evidence that only reasonable defensive action had been taken”. Under certain circumstances, another law applies: Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. These powers relate to warranted officers only when conducting certain activities under PACE, such as stop and search, fingerprints, taking of DNA and search powers whilst in custody (England & Wales only). What is theNational Decision Model andwhat is its relevance to policing? The National Decision Model was introduced to update the conflict resolution model, which emergency services and a wider range of companies now use to assess the risk when dealing with incidents. This model also allows those who have been involved in an incident to review their actions and decisions in a logical order and help them with report or statement writing or, indeed, giving evidence. This model also provides further information on subject profile behaviour as well as impact factors that will affect the way in which The actions of those involved will always be different, as we all deal with events in our own way due to numerous factors – some of which the National Decision Model highlights, but a lot of which it does not.

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