Police selection, training and operations: can all police officers use force effectively?

#1
Though one news story has prompted this post, I am also taking into account similar stories, seen over the course of several years, which make me wonder:

1. Are all police officers able - physically and in terms of mental attitude - to effectively use force to subdue suspects?

2. What can be done in terms of training and selection to ensure that suitably assertive and street-wise people are joining the police?

3. Is there a focus in police training on the 'restraint' of suspects as opposed to possible 'combat' with a suspect? (is that even a valid distinction?).

4. Do police officers believe they will be supported by their superior officers if they have to, for want of a better word, get into a fight to subdue a suspect?

The news story that prompted this post is below. I should make it clear that I don't blame the officers but equally they need to be 'winning' such confrontations or they will lose control, if it is not already being lost.
Effective policing relies upon many things (effective community relations, public goodwill, resources, etc) but the police edge is in the necessary use of violence to enforce the law. When violence needs to be used, the police must win.
Public amusement at ineffective policing erodes the authority of the police. Much as the actions of the bystanders in the video are bad, seeing the police losing a physical confrontation is very concerning.
The role of social media means that filmed examples of police 'losing' are given much more exposure. There is a highly viewed video on YouTube of (literally) 20 Met police officers being needed to arrest one bloke with a machete. It is embarrassing to watch: an example of risk aversion taken to extremes and also a situation where many people would find the lack of assertion by the police concerning.

Police slam cheering public as man escapes

And the 20 vs 1 video:


In the second video well, the suspect isn't shot and the police are not harmed. That's good but the number of police seemingly needed to achieve that outcome however...
 
#2
No one thought of tazering him rather than committing every copper within 100 miles? Another great example of resource management by the old bill
 
#4
The second video is quite an old video. I don't know if they routinely had tasers then. I bet the 5'0" WPC with her baton drawn the other side of the Astra had him worried for a bit.
 
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#5
Short answer... No, the police are ill equipped both skills wise and mindset, to deal with people who try their level best to use extreme violence to escape.
There are a number of reasons for this but to my mind it is simply because Officers will not be supported if the offender is injured and complains and the level of training received nowadays is just dreadful.
More time is spent at training schools on diversity inputs than on officer safety training. This is then followed up with a 1 day a year refresher in OST. All of which is practiced on mostly compliant role players.
A much more significant role out of Taser would be good, but its bloody expensive.
 
#6
Another case of Britain's cash-strapped and resource-less police pitching up en masse to crack a nut that virtually anywhere else - with maybe the exception of Sweden which is suffering the same malaise as the UK's police - would be a case of 'Drop the weapon! No? OK...' BANG. Job jobbed.

The only snag with that is that as Mr Machete appears to have caught the sun a bit, the episode would undoubtedly be followed by several nights of rioting, as pound to a penny Mr Machete would have been a talented rapper.
 
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#7
If what's being said about inadequate training at the institutional level is true, then perhaps forces should be encouraging and supporting beat police to train in Brazilian jiujitsu, which is popular, widespread, and very effective at restraining. There's a sporting element to it, which is handy for keeping some people motivated, and it'll keep them fit too.

Judo could also be a good fit, but it has probably been surpassed by BJJ in terms of popularity and thus availability.
 
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#8
Short answer... No, the police are ill equipped both skills wise and mindset, to deal with people who try their level best to use extreme violence to escape.
There are a number of reasons for this but to my mind it is simply because Officers will not be supported if the offender is injured and complains and the level of training received nowadays is just dreadful.
More time is spent at training schools on diversity inputs than on officer safety training. This is then followed up with a 1 day a year refresher in OST. All of which is practiced on mostly compliant role players.
A much more significant role out of Taser would be good, but its bloody expensive.
Thanks for the information.
I ought to have mentioned in my post that of equal concern is that the two suspects weighed up their chances (of being restrained, arrested, etc) and decided to have a go.
There needs to be, if not a liking for, but at least respect of the police (well, their powers). If it goes, it will not easily be recovered. I say if it goes, it may already have gone in places.
 
#9
I generally agree with all of the above. This.....like a lot of the problems with modern policing.....is complex.
We are reaping the results of recruiting more academically minded people who are used to thinking things through. A fight isn't like that. One of the phrases used by our better trainers is 'allow yourself to be violent'. A concept some people struggle with. Particularly as we have spent years trying to be fluffy and socially aware.
The fitness requirements are woeful. The ability to run at a fairly slow pace for three and a half minutes...with no strength testing element....doesn't replicate the type of fitness needed.
People fear injury. To themselves. To the subject. And the consequences of that. But a short, very violent, confrontation is often less injurious to everyone involved. But you need to learn that, or be taught it. Back to inadequate training.
There is a definite need for thinkers in the police....but there will always be pubs full of fighting pikeys.....so there is also a need for more 'robust' officers.
It is a sad reflection on society that people would rather film an event like this rather than trying to assist.
 
#10
Though one news story has prompted this post, I am also taking into account similar stories, seen over the course of several years, which make me wonder:

1. Are all police officers able - physically and in terms of mental attitude - to effectively use force to subdue suspects?

2. What can be done in terms of training and selection to ensure that suitably assertive and street-wise people are joining the police?

3. Is there a focus in police training on the 'restraint' of suspects as opposed to possible 'combat' with a suspect? (is that even a valid distinction?).

4. Do police officers believe they will be supported by their superior officers if they have to, for want of a better word, get into a fight to subdue a suspect?

The news story that prompted this post is below. I should make it clear that I don't blame the officers but equally they need to be 'winning' such confrontations or they will lose control, if it is not already being lost.
Effective policing relies upon many things (effective community relations, public goodwill, resources, etc) but the police edge is in the necessary use of violence to enforce the law. When violence needs to be used, the police must win.
Public amusement at ineffective policing erodes the authority of the police. Much as the actions of the bystanders in the video are bad, seeing the police losing a physical confrontation is very concerning.
The role of social media means that filmed examples of police 'losing' are given much more exposure. There is a highly viewed video on YouTube of (literally) 20 Met police officers being needed to arrest one bloke with a machete. It is embarrassing to watch: an example of risk aversion taken to extremes and also a situation where many people would find the lack of assertion by the police concerning.

Police slam cheering public as man escapes

And the 20 vs 1 video:


In the second video well, the suspect isn't shot and the police are not harmed. That's good but the number of police seemingly needed to achieve that outcome however...
British Police are trained to ‘de-escalate’ the situation if possible and are of course subject to the same laws regarding the use of ‘reasonable force’: https://www.app.college.police.uk/w...6/12/17-01-08-Safer-Resolution-Scope-v1.0.pdf
Criminal Law Act 1967
Use of force in making arrest, etc.
(1) A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large.

(2) Subsection (1) above shall replace the rules of the common law on the question when force used for a purpose mentioned in the subsection is justified by that purpose.
 
#12
British Police are trained to ‘de-escalate’ the situation if possible and are of course subject to the same laws regarding the use of ‘reasonable force’: https://www.app.college.police.uk/w...6/12/17-01-08-Safer-Resolution-Scope-v1.0.pdf
Criminal Law Act 1967
Surely the right to self defence comes into play when you (as a copper) start losing and being hurt? Also, an arrest is often an escalation.
Assuming that the police officer has the will/ability to fight as opposed to restrain.
 
#13
I generally agree with all of the above. This.....like a lot of the problems with modern policing.....is complex.
We are reaping the results of recruiting more academically minded people who are used to thinking things through. A fight isn't like that. One of the phrases used by our better trainers is 'allow yourself to be violent'. A concept some people struggle with. Particularly as we have spent years trying to be fluffy and socially aware.
The fitness requirements are woeful. The ability to run at a fairly slow pace for three and a half minutes...with no strength testing element....doesn't replicate the type of fitness needed.
People fear injury. To themselves. To the subject. And the consequences of that. But a short, very violent, confrontation is often less injurious to everyone involved. But you need to learn that, or be taught it. Back to inadequate training.
There is a definite need for thinkers in the police....but there will always be pubs full of fighting pikeys.....so there is also a need for more 'robust' officers.
It is a sad reflection on society that people would rather film an event like this rather than trying to assist.
Members of the public are probably afraid of being sued or prosecuted if they get involved.
 
#14
A Taser costs £1400. To equip every frontline officer is prohibitively expensive, add to this 3 days initial trg and yearly refresh. Shifts are approaching a half of what they used to be, every day away on trg is less cops on the ground.

That video is old and I doubt that you would see that many anymore and Taser would have been used nowadays undoubtedly.

The Police in this country have become what politicians and the media have forced them to become, working in fear of spurious complaints and prosecution. Over politicised and excessively regulated and surveilled.

Why would anyone risk their livelihood when they know that being seen to be too robust and violent will lead to 18 months of vilification and potential imprisonment if someone dies or is injured.

What we need is a Royal Commission into Policing, to allow this country to decide what we want from our Police and what we are willing to pay for it. We haven’t had a Royal Commission since 1960.

Police are leaving voluntarily in droves at the moment, something I’ve never previously seen before.
 
#15
Surely the right to self defence comes into play when you (as a copper) start losing and being hurt? Also, an arrest is often an escalation.
That College of Policing paper talks about the continual compromise between dealing with the situation and trying to achieve a peaceful resolution. You could always get rid of the IOPC, but that’s a none starter, or change the legislation to say Police can use ‘whatever force is necessary’. Until then, we are where we are
Assuming that the police officer has the will/ability to fight as opposed to restrain.
Assuming the officer has the law and guidance to support his decision.
 
#16
That College of Policing paper talks about the continual compromise between dealing with the situation and trying to achieve a peaceful resolution. You could always get rid of the IOPC, but that’s a none starter, or change the legislation to say Police can use ‘whatever force is necessary’. Until then, we are where we are

Assuming the officer has the law and guidance to support his decision.
Law, guidance AND will and ability. I hope police officers think about having to use and face force before they apply.
 
#17
A Taser costs £1400. To equip every frontline officer is prohibitively expensive, add to this 3 days initial trg and yearly refresh. Shifts are approaching a half of what they used to be, every day away on trg is less cops on the ground.

That video is old and I doubt that you would see that many anymore and Taser would have been used nowadays undoubtedly.

The Police in this country have become what politicians and the media have forced them to become, working in fear of spurious complaints and prosecution. Over politicised and excessively regulated and surveilled.

Why would anyone risk their livelihood when they know that being seen to be too robust and violent will lead to 18 months of vilification and potential imprisonment if someone dies or is injured.

What we need is a Royal Commission into Policing, to allow this country to decide what we want from our Police and what we are willing to pay for it. We haven’t had a Royal Commission since 1960.

Police are leaving voluntarily in droves at the moment, something I’ve never previously seen before.
Are there common reasons that you know of as to why officers are leaving, please?
 
#18
Law, guidance AND will and ability. I hope police officers think about having to use and face force before they apply.
You could easily transpose the same questions to soldiers, some of whom I knew that had no aggression and no will to fight.

People don’t really consider or properly know what fighting a drugged up man with a machete, armed with 6 seconds of spray and a short aluminium stick entails anymore than kids envisage bayoneting someone in the chest or chucking a grenade into a room prior to joining.

You get the police officer or soldier that you invest top level training in and continue to train throughout their career. If you choke off funding and overly politicise the role then you produce a certain type of police officer.
 
#19
What we need is a Royal Commission into Policing, to allow this country to decide what we want from our Police and what we are willing to pay for it. We haven’t had a Royal Commission since 1960.
Agree. One that is not influence by readers of certain tabloids who think back to a non existent Golden Age of zero crime, lily livered liberal no hopers, or the privatisation lobby.
 
#20
Law, guidance AND will and ability. I hope police officers think about having to use and face force before they apply.
As mentioned above, there needs to be a ‘root and branch’ review of what E&W want from their Police. That could mean more ‘robust’ policing and everything that goes with it.

I doubt any officer joins without thinking about confronting suspects. That’s from speaking with many including close personal friends and ex coppers employed in other roles. However, once subject to investigation and often feeling ‘hung out to dry’ by mgt, they may feel less inclined to confront situations where the law and guidance doesn’t support a ‘robust’ response.
 

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