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What Amounts to Excessive Force in NSW?

Section 230 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act of 2002 empowers police
officers in New South Wales to use as much force as is reasonably necessary to exercise a power,
authority or duty, such as a stop, search or arrest of an individual.

Section 231 of the Act similarly provides that a police officer who exercises the power to perform an
arrest may use such force as is reasonably necessary to make the arrest or prevent a person from
escaping.

The use of force that is excessive in the circumstances constitutes the criminal offence of assault and can also give rise to civil liability.

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