2010

Authors

  • Kelly Amy Hine Kelly Amy Hine

As part of their duty, police officers engage with the public. Sometimes these encounters can become dangerous and officers may need to resort to the use of force to contain these situations. Police-citizen encounters that require the use of force are usually dynamic and volatile events that involve high stakes. During such difficult situations, officers need to make difficult decisions about using force. Officers need to decide if force is required, weigh up the potential risk and consequential outcomes, and make decisions about the degree and type of force to use. While policing researchers are gaining insights into the circumstances involving police use of force, less is known about how officers make decisions in these circumstances. Further, most of the use of force literature is informed by US data – hence little is known about police use of force within an Australian context, including the circumstances surrounding decisions to use force. In particular, little is known about the circumstances that pose a risk of injury to officers, and how these circumstances may affect officer decision making. Thus, it remains unclear why officers are using the levels of force that they do, and what decision-making processes are involved during such intense situations.