Circle of Force

The natural right to act in self-defence in response to the unprovoked attacker is universal.

In countries where the Government permit their citizens to have a capacity for self-defence, there is a guideline called the Use of Force Continuum. The force continuum is a standard that provides law enforcement officers and civilians with guidance as to how much force is reasonable against someone that is resisting in a given situation. As a guide, the information is open to interpretation due to its subjectiveness. However, without any guidance, actions become arbitrary and without any specific criterion or restraint, the probability of excessive force increases.

In the past, there was no Australian legislation that prohibited a citizen from having a capacity for self-defence—Conjecturally common throughout the land a farmer had a rifle for personal protection because the farmer and family lived in a remote area and the police were not readily available in the event of an armed intruder. That has changed over the past few decade and today prohibition laws exist. The armed intruder is still a concern for those living in country areas where the police may be hour or hours away.

An example of this is the following extract from a letter to an Australian farmer from the police in New South Wales: “It is important that you understand that the legislation prohibits you from possessing or using a firearm for the purpose of personal protection” (NSW Police reference no. 1110 53032/IR:SG).

Apart from media stories like the one above the primary source of information for Australian citizens comes from court reporters after an event. The parable of the Good Samaritan is sometimes headlined, “Good Samaritan Charged by Police” and perhaps excess force was used, maybe it wasn’t, and sometimes as in the case of Caitlyn Gray vindicated and the alleger charged with contempt of court for fabricating evidence.

An element of the Preservation of Life – Community Protection Bill is “Circle of Force”. It is similar to the Use of Force Continuum. However, the guide is not about how much force is reasonable against someone that is resisting. It is about how much force and what method is sensible against someone that is attacking you given the situation.



The “Circle of Force” options are firstly voice, open-hand, secondly, expendable baton, baton, pepper spray, mace spray; thirdly, taser, long-arm beanbag and salt rounds; and lastly, the firearm.

12th July 2020 Update

CIRCLE OF FORCE DEVICE OPTIONS:

The Bill intends to create standardisation:

  • Police circle of force options approaches that of the Military.
  • Not-for-profit security is based on the 1980 police standard.
  • Civilian standard as per common in the past at the time of the 1980s policing standard.

The preliminary findings from research within the context of the circle of force options are: 

Civilian Class C:-

The southern states of Australia the taser has limited value because due to the colder climate many people, including would-be attackers, wear heavy clothing. For these areas, pepper spray and mace recommended for women, the elderly, and the disabled.  

Bottle shop attendant, late-night convenience stores, and other places where risk is higher. An extendable baton that can be kept on their person when working. 

Civilian Class B:-

The investigation into devices that propel salt projectiles laced with tear gas chemicals found that they are inadequate because of the low velocities achieved using compressed air. Also, the mass of the projectile is too small to result in enough kinetic energy to deter an advancing attacker. 

However, POL-CPB in consultation with others resulted in the following device that while not concealable is compact enough for a small safe. Research case of Karen-Q-Public e.g. safe in a motor-home – Introducing the Salt-14:

Civilian Class B Plus:-

Two options, the Salt projectile firearm and the low-velocity rifle.

Not-for-Profit Security:

Class A:-

Concealable:

Compact 5 and 6 round 38.cal Revolver with barrels less than 3 and 1/2 inch.

Standard 6 round 38/357 cal. Revolver with barrels less than 6 and 1/2 inch barrels.

Rifle:

Pump action 308 cal. Remington or low-velocity 357 cal. repeater rifle.