To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Racial disparities in police use-of-force: a state-of-the-art review

Meghan E. Hollis (School of Criminal Justice, Texas State University San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas, USA)
Wesley G. Jennings (School of Criminal Justice, Texas State University San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 9 April 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to systematically and comprehensively review the extant literature on racial disparities in police use of force.

Design/methodology/approach

The current study uses a narrative meta-review of racial disparities in police use of force through a systematic and exhaustive search of several academic databases (e.g. Criminal Justice Abstracts; EBSCO Host, PsychInfo, etc.).

Findings

The current meta-review identified 41 studies that matched the selection criteria. These studies examined public and police officer perceptions of use of force, rates of use of force, types of force used, neighborhood contextual correlates of use of force, and severity of force used. The relationship between race and use of force remains unclear after an examination of these studies. This indicates a need for high-quality research focusing on comparable operationalization of variables and stronger methodologies.

Research limitations/implications

The research implications derived from this meta-review indicate a need for increased research to better understand the intersections of race and police use of force (and the factors that increase the likelihood of force being used more broadly).

Practical implications

The practical implications derived from this meta-review indicate the need for monitoring techniques, such as the use of police body-worn cameras that could serve to deter inappropriate use of force.

Originality/value

The state-of-the-art review on racial disparities in police use of force is the first of its kind. This study comprehensively reviews the literature on racial disparities in police use of force. This study will be useful for those who wish to further explore racial disparities and use of force issues in policing, and for police managers and administrators who want to address concerns related to racial disparities in use of force in their organization.

Keywords

Citation

Hollis, M.E. and Jennings, W.G. (2018), "Racial disparities in police use-of-force: a state-of-the-art review", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 41 No. 2, pp. 178-193. https://doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-09-2017-0112

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited