Police Use of Force: A Global Perspective

Police Use of Force: A Global Perspective

Police Use of Force: A Global Perspective

Police Use of Force: A Global Perspective

Synopsis

The extent to which police should use force in thwarting crime is a subject of hot debate. Some countries do not routinely arm police officers with guns. Elsewhere, officers are sometimes required by law to fire warning shots or attempt to injure a suspect before commencing with deadly force. In still other nations, such actions are considered unlawful and officers are trained to shoot to kill.

Excerpt

Police use of force remains a vitally important, and yet continually controversial, area for scholars, law enforcement leaders, and policymakers around the world. When used legitimately, respectfully, consistently, and lawfully, police use of force is a functional and necessary aspect of living in a safe and healthy society, regardless of the form of government, culture, or society. But when police use of force is considered illegitimate, disrespectful or unlawful, real or perceived, it can quickly erode the confidence of citizens in their government, increase crime and violence, and generate wider dissent and dissatisfaction across communities and countries. However, there are considerable differences regarding what constitutes legitimate, respectful, reasonable, excessive, and lawful police use of force across different countries. The first section of our book focuses on the broader context of police use of force and considers these substantial variations in defining force, officer training, and implementing use-of-force policies across a number of countries and among a variety of situational settings.

William Terrill and Eugene Paoline begin with an analysis and draw attention to the complexities associated with clarifying what constitutes proper versus improper force by exploring this issue from different perspectives (e.g., public, legal, organizational, and officer). This opening chapter is a particularly important starting point, given that the rest of the book provides a wide variety of country-based case studies that illustrate these differences in how and why police use various forms of force in their law enforcement activities. Emil Plywaczewski and Izabela Nowicka focus our readers’ attention on the police use of force in Poland, analyzing the legal and historical basis that provides for, but still attempts to balance, the need for police use of force while respecting citizen rights and protections. This chapter, supported with empirical data, suggests that most often, but not all of the time, police do act with force in accordance with Polish law.

Kam Wong next provides a rare glimpse into Hong Kong policing practices, focusing specifically on firearms (further discussed in Part II) as one method of . . .

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