There are various definitions surrounding physical intervention and the following should provide a helpful guide.

Physical Interventions

A Physical Intervention is the use of direct or indirect force, through bodily, physical or mechanical means, to limit another person's movement.

A Defensive physical intervention is a skill used to protect oneself (or another person) from assault.

Non-restrictive and restrictive interventions

Physical interventions can be further broken down into:

Non-restrictive interventions allow a greater degree of freedom where the individual can move away from the physical intervention if they wish to. This would include prompting and guiding an individual to assist them walking and some defensive, self protective interventions.

Restrictive interventions involve the use of force to limit the movement and freedom of an individual and can involve contact, mechanical devices or changes to the person's environment. Such interventions can be: Highly Restrictive, i.e severely limit the movement and freedom of the individual. Low Level Restrictive, i.e limit or contain the movement and freedom of an individual who is less resistant with low levels of force.

Physical intervention skills - a last resort 

The application of a physical intervention has inherent dangers and can have the following serious consequences: Increased risk of harm to security staff and the individuals they are dealing with - Prosecution of security staff if use of force was unnecessary, excessive, or in any other way unlawful - Allegations against security staff and potential loss of employment.

Because of this, the decision to use physical intervention skills should not be taken lightly and should always be regarded as a last resort, for example, when other options have failed or are likely to fail, and where it is not possible or appropriate to withdraw from a situation.