Reducing police use of force: Case studies and prospects
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Police codes of conduct require officers to use the minimum amount of force when enforcing laws and maintaining order. At the same time, the use of excessive or unnecessary force is a major problem internationally. The purpose of this paper is to address the possibility of reducing violence in police-citizen encounters and controlling police use of force, especially at the levels that cause injuries and threaten public trust and confidence in the police. A search of the literature was conducted to identify case study reports of apparent success in this area, focused on intervention projects with time series data. Seven cases were selected and analyzed, covering a variety of indicators of force and excessive force. Our study shows that police departments can reduce the levels of force used to enforce laws and maintain order. Strategies identified in the review targeted individual, cultural and organizational factors and included equipping officers at the individual level with the appropriate skills, and providing a framework of internal and external accountability. In particular, we show the value of a Problem Oriented Policing (POP) approach that focuses on diagnostic research, tailor-made interventions, and impact evaluation.
Aggression and Violent Behavior
Police Administration, Procedures and Practice