It’s Your Story, So Get It Right

Intervening to take away someone’s freedom of movement is generally done for a greater good, to.

  • To stop a situation from going wrong. Or,
  • To prevent a situation from worsening

Either way it’s important that you record and report the full picture around

  • What happened before you had to (physically) intervene
  • What was the other persons behaviour
  • What happened after you intervened

When it comes to assessing an individual’s use of force in high-stakes situations, the tribunal (ie; management hearing, court, inquest, etc) process often faces significant challenges.

People need to know how you were feeling during these high-pressure situations

These challenges arise from the inherent complexity of such incidents and the limited understanding of the psychological and physiological factors that influence human behaviour under stress.

A tribunal typically conducted by individuals who may lack firsthand experience of these factors, can lead to judgments that do not fully capture the nuances of the situation.

A tribunal is a formal body established to make a judgement of disputes and review actions, often within a legal or quasi-legal framework.

In the context of use of force reviews, tribunals are tasked with determining whether an individual’s actions were appropriate and justified given the circumstances.

This process involves gathering evidence, hearing testimonies, and making decisions based on the information presented.

Tribunals aim to ensure accountability and uphold standards of conduct where the use of force is a concern.

However, the members of these tribunals/courts who may include legal experts, administrative officials, or general members of the public often lack practical experience in the high-pressure situations being reviewed.

Human behaviour in high-stress situations is profoundly influenced by both psychological and physiological responses.

When faced with immediate threats or dangerous situations, individuals experience a range of reactions that can affect their decision-making and actions.

These factors include:

  1. Fight or flight response – the automatic physiological reaction to a perceived threat prepares the body to either confront or flee from danger.
  2. Tunnel vision and Auditory exclusion – under extreme stress, individuals may experience tunnel vision, where their focus narrows to the immediate threat, and auditory exclusion, where they become less aware of sounds around them.
  3. Cognitive overload – high-stress situations can overwhelm cognitive functions, leading to difficulties in processing information, making decisions, and recalling details.
  4. Fear and anxiety – emotional responses such as fear and anxiety can influence behaviour, potentially leading to defensive or aggressive actions that aim to mitigate perceived threats.

Tribunals reviewing use of force incidents often comprise individuals who have not personally experienced the intense psychological and physiological pressures described above.

This gap in experiential understanding can lead to misinterpretations of behaviour and motivations.

Without a deep appreciation of how stress can alter perception and reaction, tribunal/courts members might view actions as excessive or unreasonable, failing to account for the real-time constraints and pressures faced by the individual.

To enhance the fairness and accuracy of use of force reviews, it is crucial to bridge the gap between tribunal/courts members knowledge and the realities faced by those under review.

Several measures can help achieve this:

  1. Expert testimonies – including expert testimonies from experienced practitioners, psychologists and physiologists can provide valuable insights into the effects of stress on behaviour.
  2. Training and simulations – tribunal members should undergo awareness and/or training and simulations to become better informed about the pressures of high-stress situations.
  3. Holistic review – reviews should consider the whole picture of circumstances, including environmental factors, threat levels, and the individual’s training and experience.
  4. Policy and Guidelines – clear and comprehensive policies that acknowledge the impact of stress on decision-making can provide a more realistic framework for assessing use of force incidents.

The tribunal process plays a vital role in maintaining accountability and standards in situations involving the use of force.

However, the complexity of human behaviour under stress necessitates a deeper understanding of the psychological and physiological factors.

By incorporating expert insights, training, and contextual analysis, tribunals can ensure that their reviews are both fair and informed, ultimately leading to more just outcome for those whose actions are under scrutiny.

NOTE – your ‘subjective’ views regarding the situation and circumstances need to heard and understood ‘objectively’ by those, members of the tribunal, who are tasked with determining whether your actions were appropriate and justified given the circumstances.

Here’s The Additional Problem …

Currently there are trainers, managers and inspectors in various industry sectors, including healthcare, care, education, door supervision, security and close protection, who are either expected to train, provide guidance and investigate matters involving discipline staff who use physical force in the workplace.

Yet a very high percentage of these people have not received any competent training or qualifications in that area.

This makes them unqualified and therefore not competent to do this work.

This leaves the employer, trainer or manager open to a legal challenge, if a wrong assumption was made that led to a decision to discipline or terminate someone’s employment or to charge them with a crime.

This can end up with the employer facing an employment tribunal or being sued; because someone who has had their rights infringed has “an enforceable right to compensation” under the law.

Worse still, incorrect information, advice, guidance and instruction can lead to an increased risk to staff and the people they serve.

And, if this led to a serious injury or death then the employer and the manager/director responsible can be prosecuted under Health & Safety legislation and in the latter, under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act.

Our Level 3 – Understanding Use of Reasonable Force (online) course addresses the following


There are videos of qualified lawyers and KC’s teaching you about the various aspects of law with regards to understanding reasonable force.

This is particularly important with regards to providing legally accurate advice, guidance and instruction consistent with current UK statute and common law.

Health and Safety 

There is a qualified Health & Safety professional who will be teaching you about how health & safety legislation applies with regards to the use of force.

You will also learn how the various elements of Health and Safety legislations apply when planning and delivering use of force training and in the strategic operational use of force, particularly in areas of safety, health, welfare and negligence.

Medical and Scientific 

Learn about the medical implications of restraint and the scientific research into the risk of serious injury and death associated with physical restraint.

Also learn how to reduce those risks from a properly qualified and competent medical professional and a scientist who has done leading research into restraint positional asphyxia.

To learn more about this course –