The Use of Force Continuum

The use of force to capture an offender by a law enforcement officer correlates to the offender’s willingness to surrender. There are no universally acceptable standards on the subject matter. When left uncheck, an offender’s rights are prone to abuse. The amount of force used is determined by the officers’ experience and the frequency of committing crimes by a particular offender (NIJ, Research on Police Use of Force, 2016).

Factors that determine the use of force

            Application of excessive force during arrests usually leads to severe injuries. The use of minimal force during arrests results in minor or no injuries (NIJ, Research on Police Use of Force, 2016). Consistent use of excessive force tended to create cold-hearted law enforcers, while the use of less force created law-abiding enforcers. First-time offenders do not require much force to arrest them because they exhibit signs of guilt but seasoned offenders may require significant force depending on the crime. Non-weaponized crimes required less or no force at all compared to weaponized crimes.

Questioning and Interrogation process

            Questioning of suspects after justifiable arrest allows them to eliminate themselves from the crime scene. The questions posed should not be intimidating or subject them to mental stress, and the tone used should not instill fear. Suspects are interrogated to obtain the truth from them after presenting the evidence. This is mainly done to obtain confessions. Interrogation yields better results when the right questions, tone, environment, and suspects rights are observed. The Miranda rights serve to protect suspects from self-incrimination, hence they are only questioned and interrogated after they are aware of their constitutional rights.


            Suspects are bound to resist getting arrested by law enforcers, thus the amount of force used during arrests is situational (NIJ, The Use-of-Force Continuum, 2009). This is because each situation and each law enforcer is unique. This led to the establishment of the Use-of-Force continuum to guide the process of making arrests. In addition, suspects’ rights should be communicated during arrests.


NIJ. (2009, August 4). The Use-of-Force Continuum. Retrieved from National Institute of Justice Website:

NIJ. (2016, November 29). Research on Police Use of Force. Retrieved from National Institute of Justice Website:

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