Resource Book on the Use of Force and Firearms in Law Enforcement

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This resource book explores international law sources relevant to the use of force and the general responsibility of law enforcement authorities for the use of force. It discusses a number of instruments of force, including firearms, and the conditions under which these should be used. It further examines the possible use of force in a number of specific policing situations. Finally, it also outlines good practices for accountability in the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials.



Complaints and investigations

Members of the public should be able to file a complaint against law enforcement officials when they believe the force that was used against them or someone else was unlawful, excessive or arbitrary and/or resulted in torture or other forms of ill-treatment. When there are credible allegations of unwarranted use of force, this should be subject to a prompt, effective, transparent, independent and impartial investigation in order to establish what happened and why.


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