THE treatment of four young Sunshine Coast girls arrested and sent back to their father in Italy will be investigated "as a matter of course", a federal police spokeswoman has said.

Witnesses to a federal police swoop on a family in Mountain Creek on Wednesday said they were shocked and appalled at the way the police had behaved.

The girls screamed and begged for help as as many as 10 officers - including two women - descended on the home about 6.45pm.

The police, who were in at least two cars, ordered one neighbour not to intervene.

At least a dozen people saw the incident, which lasted more than 30 minutes.

The eldest girl was pushed on to her stomach and held down by two officers during the fracas.

It ended when the four girls, aged between 15 and nine and who had been ordered by a court to be placed back with their father, were put into the cars and driven away.

Their mother was left sobbing on her knees in the street.

The federal police spokeswoman said yesterday its policy was to review all use-of-force actions as a matter of course.

She said the officers had been acting on the orders of the court.

"We understand that family law matters are sensitive and an emotional time for all involved," she said.

"The AFP has no discretion when it comes to complying with orders made by the family court.

"It is obliged to returm the children to the relevant parent as ordered by the court."

The spokeswoman said police had a duty to act reasonably and appropriately in relation ro specific circumstances.

"The use of force is governed by the commissioner's orders," she said.

"These orders are beased on principles of minimal force, reasonableness and proportionality."