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Defining Reasonable Force - Balancing Control and Injury Prevention

The concept of reasonable force is a fundamental principle in legal frameworks worldwide, governing the permissible level of force individuals can use in various situations.


However, the term 'reasonable' is inherently subjective, making it difficult to create a universally applicable definition.


Lets looks into some of the complexities of defining reasonable force.


The Subjectivity of Reasonable Force


What one person perceives as reasonable might seem excessive or insufficient to another.


When facing imminent harm or threat, individuals are generally allowed to use force to protect themselves or others.


However, the amount of force used must be considered 'reasonable' in light of the perceived threat.


The issue is in striking a delicate balance between achieving control over a situation and preventing excessive injury or harm.


The primary objective for using force is often to gain control or incapacitate the aggressor, not to cause unnecessary injury.


However, determining the appropriate level of force to attain control while minimising harm is no simple task.


Factors Influencing Reasonable Force - Control versus Injury Prevention

- Proportionality: The force used must be proportional to the threat posed.

- Imminent danger: The threat must be immediate and not merely speculative.

- Necessity: The availability of alternative (options) non-violent approaches to de-escalate a situation is relevant in determining the reasonableness of force.


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