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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2020

Alexis Rain Rockwell, Stephen A. Bishopp and Erin A. Orrick

The current study examines the effect of changing a specific use-of-force policy coupled with de-escalation training implementation on patterns of police use of force.

Abstract

Purpose

The current study examines the effect of changing a specific use-of-force policy coupled with de-escalation training implementation on patterns of police use of force.

Design/methodology/approach

An interrupted time-series analysis was used to examine changes in police use-of-force incident records gathered from a large, southwestern US metropolitan police department from 2013 to 2017 based on a TASER policy change and de-escalation training implementation mid-2015.

Findings

Results demonstrate that changes to use-of-force policy regarding one type of force (i.e. use of TASERs) coinciding with de-escalation training influence the prevalence of use-of-force incidents by increasing the reported police use-of-force incidents after the changes were implemented. This finding is somewhat consistent with prior literature but not always in the desired direction.

Practical implications

When police departments make adjustments to use-of-force policies and/or trainings, unintended consequences may occur. Police administrators should measure policy and training outcomes under an evidence-based policing paradigm prior to making those adjustments.

Originality/value

This study is the first to measure the effects of changing use-of-force policy and implementing de-escalation techniques in training on patterns of police use of force and shows that these changes can have a ripple effect across types of force used by police officers.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 December 2017

Diana Hepworth

The purpose of this paper is to critically review the current police training and criminal justice policy regarding the treatment of suspects with autism spectrum disorder…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to critically review the current police training and criminal justice policy regarding the treatment of suspects with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) during the initial stages of the criminal justice system (CJS), and provide potential policy reform and areas for further research.

Design/methodology/approach

By reviewing extant literature, research and policy documents, this paper provides a critical review of the current policy and training for dealing with suspects with ASD in the current CJS in England and Wales for suspects with ASD.

Findings

This paper proposes that current policy and police staff training is insufficient during all initial stages of the criminal justice process. Although there are emerging policies and schemes which are promising, they require further research and national participation. Policy reform and improved training is required to ensure minimal opportunities for miscarriages of justice to those individuals with ASD.

Originality/value

This paper provides a chronological journey through the initial stages of the CJS in England and Wales for a suspect with ASD, and the challenges that they may face. Suggestions are made based on criminological and psychological research to remedy the potential opportunities for miscarriages of justice.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, vol. 8 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8824

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 March 2005

Carol A. Archbold

To present qualitative data illustrating how some of the largest law enforcement agencies in the USA use risk management in their efforts to control police liability.

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Abstract

Purpose

To present qualitative data illustrating how some of the largest law enforcement agencies in the USA use risk management in their efforts to control police liability.

Design/methodology/approach

To explore this topic, two main data sources were utilized: telephone interviews with 354 law enforcement agencies identified the prevalence of the use of risk management by police agencies; and survey data from police agencies provided descriptive information about the roles, duties, and placement of risk managers within each police organization.

Findings

Telephone interviews revealed that 14 of the 354 (0.039 percent) law enforcement agencies identified risk management as one of several tools they use to control police‐related liability within their organizations. This finding is surprising, given the increase in costs associated with settlements/payouts for police‐involved litigation and liability claims over the past few decades.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should identify the reasons why police agencies choose not to use risk management in their police liability management efforts. In addition, future research should explore how the characteristics of city government and/or political culture are associated with the use of risk management by law enforcement agencies.

Practical implications

This paper can serve as a basic resource for police scholars and practitioners, city/county attorneys, risk managers, and various other city/county agents that are interested in learning about risk management as a way to manage police liability.

Originality/value

This paper presents the first national study of risk management in police agencies in the USA.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 April 2022

Jessica Herbert, Karissa Pelletier and Danielle Wallace

Given that formal training on autism is still a relatively infrequent occurrence for police officers, the objective of this study is to expose and describe the formal and

Abstract

Purpose

Given that formal training on autism is still a relatively infrequent occurrence for police officers, the objective of this study is to expose and describe the formal and informal, nonorganizationally based means police officers receive on-the-job training regarding interactions with autistic individuals.

Design/methodology/approach

Using personal networks and snowball sampling, the authors interviewed 19 police officers from multiple US police departments who reported having known contact with an autistic individual while on duty. Interviews were transcribed and coded to identify themes describing formal training and informal means to learn about autistic persons during interactions.

Findings

The authors find that many officers received formal training on mental health, though few received specific training about autism. Most commonly, officers with a personal connection to autism (e.g. a child or loved one), passed down information and techniques to other officers on how to have positive encounters with autistic individuals. Officers also passed along field knowledge of known autistic individuals in patrol areas/beats to help others have positive interactions. Lastly, community members often assisted officers by sharing information about find where an individual may be located, may live or known personal characteristics/preferences.

Originality/value

Scholars examining police contact with autistic individuals infrequently detail the point of view and needs of officers in successfully interacting with this population. This work adds to this growing discussion by exposing how officers use personal experience, informal training and community members’ assistance as a stopgap for their general lack of training on how to interact with autistic individuals successfully and positively.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 45 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 April 2018

Bryan Vila, Stephen James and Lois James

The purpose of this paper is to develop and describe the implementation of a novel method for creating interval-level metrics for objectively assessing police officer…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop and describe the implementation of a novel method for creating interval-level metrics for objectively assessing police officer behaviors during an encounter with the public. These behaviors constitute officer performance and affect the probability of desirable encounter outcomes. The metrics measure concrete, micro-level performance in the common types of complex, dynamic, and low-information police-public encounters that often require immediate action using “naturalistic” decision making. Difficulty metrics also were developed to control for situational variability. The utility of measuring what officers do vs probabilistic outcomes is explored with regard to informing policymaking, field practice, and training.

Design/methodology/approach

Metric sets were developed separately for three types of police-public encounters: deadly force judgment and decision making, cross-cultural tactical social interaction, and crisis intervention. In each, “reverse concept mapping” was used with a different diverse focus group of “true experts” to authoritatively deconstruct implicit concepts and derive important variables. Variables then were scaled with Thurstone’s method using 198 diverse expert trainers to create interval-level metrics for performance and situational difficulty. Metric utility was explored during two experimental laboratory studies and in response to a problematic police encounter.

Findings

Objective, interval-level metric sets were developed for measuring micro-level police performance and encounter difficulty. Validation and further refinement are required.

Research limitations/implications

This novel method provides a practical way to rapidly develop metrics that measure micro-level performance during police-public encounters much more precisely than was previously possible.

Originality/value

The metrics developed provide a foundation for measuring officers’ performance as they exercise discretion, engage people, and affect perceptions of police legitimacy.

Article
Publication date: 15 May 2017

Samara McPhedran, Angela R. Gover and Paul Mazerolle

The purpose of this paper is twofold. The first goal is to conduct a cross-national examination of law enforcement officer attitudes about domestic violence (DV) by…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold. The first goal is to conduct a cross-national examination of law enforcement officer attitudes about domestic violence (DV) by comparing officer attitudes in the USA to officer attitudes in Australia. The second goal is to examine law enforcement officer attitudes about DV using a gender lens to identify whether patterns in attitudes among male and female officers in the USA are similar to those among Australian male and female law enforcement officers.

Design/methodology/approach

The current study involves a comparative analysis of DV attitudes in two different countries (the USA and Australia). Officers in the USA were asked to indicate their level agreement with 28 attitudinal statements about DV. The Australian survey adapted the Gover et al. (2011) instrument by including 24 of the 28 attitudinal statements. The survey followed a mixed-methods design with both quantitative and qualitative components. Bivariate analyses were conducted to determine whether attitudes varied by country and gender of the responding officers. Analyses of attitudinal questions and categorical variables (e.g. gender) were conducted using t-tests.

Findings

According to survey data gathered from police officers in Colorado (USA) and Queensland (Australia), male and female officer attitudes within each country are more similar than different. When comparing the overall sample of American officer attitudes to Australian officer attitudes, they significantly differ about half the time.

Research limitations/implications

The Australian survey had a considerably low response rate, and therefore it cannot be stated with certainty whether the responses given are truly representative of the views of Australian officers as a whole, although the demographic characteristics of the sample were comparable with the overall police population demographics. Another limitation is that not all demographic and background variables were collected by both surveys. For example, the US survey asked about officers’ ethnicity, while the Australian survey did not, and the Australian survey asked about how many DV jobs officers attended per month, while the US survey did not.

Practical implications

Improving knowledge about police attitudes towards DV can help to inform future policy or practice implementation, as well as training programmes and better overall responses to the pervasive and ongoing problem of DV internationally.

Originality/value

This is a unique and original piece of research as it is a partial cross-national replication of an existing survey. This work does have the potential for great impact in understanding and developing innovative law enforcement responses to DV. In developing such responses officer attitudes need to be considered and integrated into the response, as their opinions will guide the support of future interventions.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 40 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 May 2017

Sherry Lynn Skaggs and Ivan Y. Sun

The purpose of this paper is to explore factors that shape police behavior in juvenile interactions occurring in rural communities.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore factors that shape police behavior in juvenile interactions occurring in rural communities.

Design/methodology/approach

Using data collected in rural Kentucky through a factorial survey instrument, this study assessed the effects of situational, officer, organizational and community variables on officers’ authoritative and supportive behavior toward juveniles.

Findings

Officer background characteristics, such as race, sex, education, and having children, and occupational attitudes, such as rehabilitation and dispositional beliefs, were significantly related to both authoritative and supportive behavior. While organizational variables affected officer supportive actions, they were weakly linked to authoritative behavior. Neighborhood social disorganization was ineffective in predicting both types of police behavior.

Originality/value

Although a considerable amount of research has been conducted in the past several decades to examine police behavior, a relatively small number of studies have empirically assessed factors that shape police behavior toward juveniles with an even smaller number assessing juvenile interactions in rural communities. This research provides a comprehensive theoretical explanation of police-juvenile encounters in rural communities which will allow for a more complete understanding of the factors that account for police attitudes and behavior in these interactions.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 40 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2002

Jan Jordan

Assumptions are often made that women police officers will respond more sympathetically to rape complainants than their male colleagues. In the research study presented…

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Abstract

Assumptions are often made that women police officers will respond more sympathetically to rape complainants than their male colleagues. In the research study presented here, 48 women complainants of rape and sexual assault expressed their views of the extent to which they considered the gender of the interviewing officer to be important and commented on the ways in which the men and women involved with their case interacted with them. The results showed that, overall, gender per se was not the determining factor of complainant satisfaction. Professionalism, warmth and sensitivity were the qualities most desired and these were not exclusively associated with gender. This suggests that not only is it possible for some male officers to be sensitive victim interviewers, but also that being female does not automatically denote possession of the key attributes required for victim interviewing. Some rape complainants, however, expressed a strong preference for women officers. This places the onus on the police not simply to provide a woman officer – the “any woman will do” scenario – but to ensure the availability of trained and experienced women and men officers.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 September 2000

Amanda L. Robinson and Meghan Stroshine Chandek

Much research has focused on the police response to domestic violence; however, relatively little research has considered performance differences of various types of police

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Abstract

Much research has focused on the police response to domestic violence; however, relatively little research has considered performance differences of various types of police officers. Although there has been widespread adoption of community policing by police departments across the country, it is not conclusive as to whether units with a specific community policing philosophy perform better than traditional units when handling domestic violence calls. The current study addresses this issue by analyzing the factors associated with victim participation; specifically, do officers and detectives operating under a specific community policing mandate produce higher rates of victim participation? Bivariate and multivariate analyses indicate that victim participation rates did not differ by a community policing orientation; rather, situational factors exert the strongest effect on victim participation.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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