Licensed to Kill? Police Powers of Force.

Mar 1, 2023

Police have a significant amount of power when it comes to exercising their duties. It is important to understand the extent of power they can lawfully exert.

Midnight yesterday, police shot a man who they allege threatened officers with a knife at a police station in western Sydney. Police performed first aid until paramedics arrived and took him to Westmead Hospital, however, he died shortly after arrival.

Police have reported that a critical incident team including homicide squad officers will commence an investigation subject to Independent Review.

The main legislation governing police powers in New South Wales is the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW) (‘LEPRA’). Pursuant to LEPRA, Police can use force as is reasonably necessary to make an arrest or to exercise a lawful function. This is obviously quite broad, as is the extent of powers police can lawfully exercise.

Police are allowed to employ excessive force only when deemed as a last resort, and in doing so, must act within their legal authority.

What constitutes a “reasonable” level of force can be difficult to determine but should be limited to what is necessary to restrain. Factors affecting what is considered a reasonable use of force in the circumstances of an arrest or exercise of a function, include the suspect’s age, gender, and physical size and situation at hand. However, this does not empower police officers to use pre-emptive force.

If a police officer uses more force than is reasonably or lawfully necessary to exercise the relevant function under LEPRA, they may be subject to the following:

a) Civil action against NSW Police;
b) Internal disciplinary action against the police officer; and
c) Criminal charges against the police officer.

Green & Associates carry a wealth of knowledge and expertise in civil matters and can provide you with assistance if you have been subject to any of the following from police:

i. Malicious Prosecution
ii. Wrongful Arrest
iii. Unlawful Imprisonment
iv. Excessive force, or Assault

Contact one of our lawyers today if you need legal advice or representation for your case. 

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Green & Associates

We are a community-focussed law firm based in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs focused on results through practicality and simplicity.Since our inception in 2014, we have been driven by and focused on one thing only: to not only win our case or achieve our target, but to do it in the quickest, cheapest and most impressive way possible. Each and every one of our clients can expect that from us in every matter we undertake.We are committed to serving Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs through our criminal, commercial & personal practice areas.We believe everyone has the right to a second chance and the opportunity to make dreams a reality.

Green & Associates

We are a community-focussed law firm based in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs focused on results through practicality and simplicity.Since our inception in 2014, we have been driven by and focused on one thing only: to not only win our case or achieve our target, but to do it in the quickest, cheapest and most impressive way possible. Each and every one of our clients can expect that from us in every matter we undertake.We are committed to serving Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs through our criminal, commercial & personal practice areas.We believe everyone has the right to a second chance and the opportunity to make dreams a reality.

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