The Use of Force – Part 1

This post should summarise, inexpertly, the police approach to the use of force.  I am writing this because it has become obvious to me over the years, especially during debates about requests for police officers to use force on mental health patients in certain predictable situations, that we are not clear what is being implicitly requested when we ask officers to move people to hospital when they are ‘sectioned’ or return them to hospital when they have been found after becoming AWOL, for example.  I am currently doing my police personal safety refresher so it seems apposite to run this particular post now.

I first want to put up large and clear, a diagrammatic example of the use of force and explain the three central, constant aspects of it – you might refer back to it these as I explain:

  • The white-grey-black section in the middle: this represents the threats a police officer may be dealing with.  It covers everything from people who are cooperative with the police, through to people posing a risk of causing serious injury or death and everything in between.  The difference between “passively resistant” and “actively resistant” is important for policing and mental health, for reasons I’ll explain shortly.
  • The blue section is a constant: officers in all situations where they are present are assessing the situation from their perspective and considering their ‘tactical options’ – what am I actually going to do?  This should be ongoing assessment – risks at jobs go up and down over time, sometimes changing quickly.  Police actions need to reflect this realty, whether risks suddenly rise or fall.
  • Green is a constant – officers should be constantly trying to communicate.  Even when we see or hear of armed officers pointing firearms at people and considering whether to shoot someone, you will notice officers shouting “Armed police, put the weapon down” or similar instructions.  Even when an officer is pointing a taser or a CS-type incapacitant at you, they will be trying to avoid using it. << Yes, really!

UoF

BASIC CONTROL SKILLS

Physical control – officers are taught a range of physical control skills.  We teach officers about wrist locks, arms locks and about pressure points – most techniques are designed to inflict non-injurous pain, arising from which people will be inclined to move as the officer is directing them to for the legal reasons which the officer will have in mind.  For example, when making a straight forward arrest, an officer will often take hold of someone’s arm, perhaps one hand to the wrist of the suspect and the other hand around the elbow.  This type of loose hold can be turned into a more forceful grip quite quickly which can then be turned into a wrist-lock if people attempt to run free or push away.  These are sometimes known as ‘primary control skills’.  Using your hands to restrict and control other people’s movement – of course whilst continuing to communicate where practicable.

We do actually teach police officers to punch, kick and push people. Obviously, use of such techniques would have to amount to reasonable force in the circumstances if they were used.  Some are surprised by this: I have several times been asked by over enthusiastic young kids, curious about the police “Are you allowed to punch people?!”  When you say, “Occasionally, yes.” they are often surprised but you then invite them to think about whether it would be reasonable to punch someone in the chest or face if that person was trying to stab you with a knife that had been suddenly produced and it was the only realistic way to stop them hurting you?  “Oh, yeah, I guess.”  Context is everything; abstraction is meaningless.

LEVELS OF RESISTANCE

Passive resistance – this is where someone is, for example, sitting in a road protesting.  It may well be a peaceful protest, but it may well also be an offence of obstructing the highway.  Sometimes, the police facilitate lawful protest and this law is not enforced.  On other occasions, officers decide that they must make the person move, possibly for their own safety if nothing else.  Assuming you’ve done as much persuading and encouraging, directing and ordering as you can reasonably be expected to undertake and you’ve reached the point of thinking, “Nothing I can reasonably do or say is going to make this person move” … how do you now move someone against their will?

Officers would consider, perhaps in pairs, taking hold of someone who for example, is sitting on the floor on in a chair and either first trying a loose arm hold and asking them to move or using pressure point techniques or arm / wrist locks to induce non-injurous pain and whilst encouraging the person to move.  Of course, if the person’s reaction to this is to resist further, either by pushing, hitting or kicking it may have escalated to active resistance.

Active resistance – this where people are making concerted efforts to resist the police by pushing, punching, kicking, spitting, etc..  Officers may still think that physical tactics are appropriate.  They may still think they can apply a wrist lock or arm lock.  They may consider what the Home Office text-book calls “a distraction strike”.  This could involve a strike with a fist or knee to a large muscle area which very briefly renders the suspect disoriented or unable to totally control their movements and which gives the officer a brief time in which to properly secure their wrist lock or their handcuffs.  There are certain techniques for managing active resistance when an officer has just one handcuff applied to a wrist.  This can involve taking a person to the floor, where officers know how to apply further types of wrist locks which can be used to ensure a persons compliance, for example until the second handcuff is securely applied and locked on.

Of course, which of these may be reasonable would depend on context.  Would a distraction strike be appropriate on an elderly mental health patient?  Far less likely to be than upon a strong, adult man in his late 20s who is more over-powering to the officer themselves.  Context is everything; abstraction is meaningless.

Serious aggravated resistance – when things have reached this level and people are attempting to deliberate and seriously hurt others, police officers will not be thinking about anything other than using their equipment unless the threat occurs so suddenly that they are unable to access it in time: that is when officers may consider pushing people away, or if in close proximity to serious danger from the suspect, punching or kicking their way to safety before drawing their equipment to deal with the threat.  The escalating order that they should consider use of equipment, sometimes known as ‘secondary control skills’ is:

  • handcuffs
  • CS
  • police baton
  • taser
  • firearms – the last two only being issued to certain officers.

A debate on taser has included people questioning whether it is in fact a more serious option than a baton.  Batons can break bones and cause serious injury and whilst there is a debate about the controversy that taser represents, some argue it is safer and less likely to be injurous.  Could you justify tasering a dementia patient? – well if he was a tall, strong adult man in his fifties who you’d already tried to handle with verbal and then physical control skills and failed, who had then thrown your only colleague across the room, hitting them off a wall, maybe it could be justified in law, however regrettable it may be morally.  Contact is everything; abstraction is meaningless.

Deadly force – this is where any officer is going to want taser or more probably firearms officers to take the lead.  Those of us who have had guns waved at us and knives drawn in close proximity whilst armed with an aluminium tube and a small tin of pepper know why.  Even at this stage, officers having to manage the threat would still be thinking tactical options and just because guns may be justified, doesn’t mean that’s how things will be managed.  I would advise you to read a previous blog about how I watched a firearms sergeant tackle an armed man with a police baton because he trusted his colleague to keep the situation ‘covered’ with a firearm whilst he de-armed the man without a shot being fired or any significant injury being caused to anyone.

I hope this explains the approach that the police take to how they should use force.  Part 2 – coming soon! – will explain the translation of these ideas to mental health situations.

Update on 01st April 2015 – since writing this article, a new Code of Practice has come into effect in England.  It doesn’t substantially alter the post but certain reference numbers have changed.  My summary post about the new Code of Practice (2015) is here, the new Reference Guide is here and the full document is here.  The Code of Practice (Wales) remains unchanged.


IMG_0053IMG_0052Winner of the President’s Medal from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Winner of the Mind Digital Media Award.


 

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29 thoughts on “The Use of Force – Part 1

  1. I once saw a female officer of West Yorkshire Police, who wasn’t much over five feet tall attack with The Chemical spray she was carrying; a teenage male with learning difficulties after she accused him of committing a crime and he responded by stating that “it wasn’t me” She was stood about a foot away from him and the use of the chemical spray burnt the lads skin leaving him with painful marks on his head, face and neck which took months to heal. Police tried to prosecute the lad over the incident but after five months of waiting to go to court the Police’s case was thrown out on the first day.

    The Female officer in question mis-read the situation, assaulted the poor kid and then to cover her mistakes pushed for him to be prosecuted on trumped up charges.

    His only crime was that he suffered from learning difficulties and in my eyes that is no crime at all.

  2. Location of TASER on force continuum is interesting.

    I have heard it placed lower than baton, and indeed some US UoF policies place it lower than ‘hard’ empty hand options or even ‘swarm’ type restraint. The operational research seems pretty clear that TASER has much lower risks for officers, and also lower risk for the arrestee.

    Public perception may be different – I think we’ve all seen the shock horror news stories and you tube videos ‘police taser teenager’ etc.

    TASER was originally sold as a less lethal alternative to firearms, but now has moved down the continuum.

    Maybe time for the poice to update the public?

    1. Tasers kill people. They have a place in modern policing but officers must never lose sight of the fact that when they choose to deploy the weapon they very well may be about to execute that person and using a taser is far more likely to kill someone than grabbing their arm or hitting their body/limbs with a baton

      Tasers should be used when there is no alternative. When lives are at stake or to prevent serious harm to officer and members of the public.

      They must never, never be used as a tool to enforce compliance or make a noisy member of the public shut up.

      There are lots of instances where tasers have been deployed in questionable circumstances such as when officers in Chorley fired at an elderly blind man who whose only crime was to carry a white stick. The officer later claimed that he believed that man had a samurai sword. That officer should be in jail for attempted murder.

      Another less well know incident is when officers shot Hayley Adamson’s boyfirend (Hayley was a girl who had been and killed hit by a Police car travelling at over 90mph in a 30 limit area, The car had no blue lights or siren wailing, it also had defective brakes but that was not a contributing factor to the accident, ) Officers turned their weapons on the distraught young man on that fateful night when he accused their colleague of driving dangerously and killing the girl he loved.

      Tasers have bad press for good reason.

      1. I would much prefer it if people didn’t abuse each other on here – I also disagree with Richard’s views but he’s got every right to express them and hold them. I also think it is important because you have gifted him an opportunity to reinforce his views because you’re not presenting an argument – you’re just being rude.

      2. You are never going to hear about the vast majority of taser deployments for the very reason that they are more the justified (“police taser man who attacks them with knife” does not sell newspapers). Yes we see these horror stories but (cliche I know) unless you are there it is impossible to sit here and look and say the police are wrong in that circumstances.

        Rest assured with professional standards departments being what they are (they are ruthless in the pursuit of dealing with complaints against police contrary to popular belief) that if an officer has actually misused force they will be dealt with appropriately and prosecuted if need be.

        That officer should not be in jail for attempted murder and there are so many things wrong with that statement I do not know where to even start. Do you honestly think officers go out and think I know I am stuck for work and want to kill someone (you know malice aforethought and all that)?

      3. I have to laugh at your claims about the Professional Standards department. I have recent experience with West Yorkshires PSD. I contacted them because i was extremely unhappy about a situation which i had found myself in.
        It’s a long story but to cut it short i used to be involved with a girl whose daddy is a Police Officer. We have a kid together. Unfortunately we fell out.

        One night her father decided to get four of his workmates (also freemasons) to come around and intimidate me at half one in the morning.

        There was a white wash, a local inspector who was investigating told me that he had never met my partners father. Which is odd because for a long number of years they worked in the same small local station.
        He assured me that he had investigated and that no action could be taken.

        I know what would have happened if my father had sent four of his workmates around to my ex’s house at half one in the morning.

        Professional standards? Who do you think you are kidding?

        Back to that idiot who shot an elderly blind man with a taser claiming he believed his white stick to be a samurai sword. It was by luck alone that elderly chap was not killed by that officer. Why shouldn’t the officer be punished and why should the dangerous weapon used be treated any differently to a knife?

        Do i think officers go out to work wanting to kill someone? I believe that the attitude displayed by some officers towards members of the public is so negative (caused by low morale and regular proximity to criminals and the henious crimes some commit) that it serves to psychologically dehumanise (a subconscious build up of malice) members of the public in their minds (think compassion fatigue) and creates a situation where innocent members of the public are subject to inappropriate levels of force, including lethal force.

        So do i think officer go out wanting to kill someone. No i don’t. I believe there is an awful lot of officers who are accidents waiting to happen and i believe that any accident which is just waiting to happen isn’t really an accident.

  3. I’m not anti-police and understand the concept of use of force by the police. However, I have a question relating to the use of chemical irritant spray. I once did some research into the use of C.S. gas and came to the original medical reports from the Home Office when they were deciding whether to allow the issue of C.S. gas to police officers in the UK. (As controversial as Taser in it’s day!) The report basically summarised that there was no permanent damage to the eyes from the irritant, however it did say that the pressurisation was such that if it was aimed at the eyes from a distance less than a yard the force of the spray could damage the eyes. Therefore it was issued with policy guidelines stating that when used it should be held at least 3 feet from the face. Any closer could cause damage to the eyes, not because of the irritant but simply through the force of the jet.
    I watch the police programs and every single time the spray is used it is held approximately 1 foot from the face. Every time I think that’s dangerous and could damage the eyes.
    My question – if it is fired from less than 1 yard, would this constitute assault as it is use of force against guidelines and therefore (questionably) illegal? That is a question not a statement! Also if it could be subsequently proven that the force of the jet did cause damage to the eyes, would that then become assault occasioning actual bodily harm?
    I understand that my research was very limited and I have no experience in the field of law, there may well have been more recent studies carried out and policies may have changed, but it’s just something that comes to mind everytime I see the spray being used on these police programs.

    1. C.S. has now largely been replaced by PAVA which does not use the same propellant and eliminates the risk of permanent damage to the eyes. As to whether it would amount to an assault the answer is within the post, context is everything, if it’s the only option available to avert an immediate threat then maybe yes. The key questions are is the use of force reasonable, necessary and proportionate. If the answers are yes then it wouldn’t amount to assault, if no then it would. Answering those questions is down to the magistrates or jury.

      1. Thanks, that answers my question and is pretty much what I thought when considering the legality of use of force.

    2. Not irrelevant questions – the answer is that whether the force is lawful is judged by whether it is reasonable in the circumstances, not on whether the equipment was used in a textbook fashion. If I could give a hypothetical example: an officer holding his CS who was suddenly “rushed” by an assailant with a knife who then instinctively reacted and spray at a point where the distance between them and the suspect was less than the guidelines. No – this would almost certainly not be a criminal assault, because of it being a sudden, instinctive reaction to a high level threat. Of course, if on a far more planned basis, officers used spary and deliberately discharged it from close distance when there was every opportunity to maintain the advised distance: this could well be argued to be an assault.

      Absrtaction is meaningless; context is everything.

      1. The context that I most often see it being used in these programs is when a person becomes violent on arrest. They are usually not only resisting but either punching, kicking, spitting or out-strengthening the police. I believe that at that point the use of CS/PAVA is justified in order to protect the police officers getting hurt and also to prevent the arrested person from escaping, I can see that in that situation when they are usually rolling around on the floor, it would be very difficult to use the CS/PAVA from a distance greater than 1 foot, but it is still the best option available. I’m also aware that especially with the CS gas, the further the distance away from the assailant, the less effective it will be and the more chance of cross-contamination which could incapacitate the police as well. This would I’m sure justify the “non-guideline” use in terms of proportionality. This is why I questioned whether in your opinion it would be illegal. I could see that it was justified in this context, but wasn’t sure whether the guidelines would over-rule that in an inquiry.

  4. When i see some of those programs i can’t help think much of what we see is done for the camera.

    Did you know that CS spray is a chemical weapon?
    Did you know that CS spray is banned from use in warfare?

    Given these fact i wonder what the situation would be if a foreign national from a country in which we were currently at war, Afganistan for example. was involved in an incident in this county, which led to Police officer using CS spay. Would that be an international incident with wide ranging International consequences?

  5. I personally feel that Richard has come to this blog post with an axe to grind and is ruining any chance of a grown up discussion due to the obvious chip on his shoulder. Perhaps Richard we should arm the police with fluffy dusters and ask all suspects to come quietly where naturally, the hardened criminals will simply accede to the request and offer their arms for compliant handcuffing.

    On the other hand we could accept that using force is inevitable in certain situations however unsavoury that use of force may be. Perhaps you could suggest better methods because I’m sure those who have no choice but to use force on a daily basis would love to hear your expertise and suggestions on how to police the country without ever using force on anyone.

    Using force is never an easy or simple decision and when officers get it wrong they should quite rightly be held to account for it but lets try and please be realistic. Sometimes using force is necessary to perform the duties of a constable, sorry but that’s just the way it is. I’m perfectly happy making the decision as to what level of force is used because you know what, it’s me that’s either in the dock or the hospital, not you. I’m perfectly happy to justify my decisions to a court but I will categorically not even bother trying to justify it to someone who has an axe to grind or clearly has little idea about the daily duties that law enforcement sadly entails in relation to use of force.

    1. Hi Dave. I might have an axe to grind but remember this: The axe is a creation of your colleagues.

      I’m not here to ruin anything, I’m sorry if that’s how my postings are making you feel.

      I support the use of force and I am happy for police officers to make the decisions in the field. I believe everyone should be accountable for their own actions. Including police officers. By all means do what you think is right at the moment it matters but if you make a bad decision you need to be accountable for it later.

      That isn’t the case at the moment because there is a very good chance that your colleagues will back you up and scuttle any chance of bringing you to account.

      I also profoundly disagree with the propaganda officers are fed about the options available. Tasers are deadly weapons, forget all the nonsense about 50,000 volts, it doesn’t matter. Just 100 milliamps is all it takes to stop a persons heart.

      The Blog post puts Tasers In the deadly force category, That is where they belong. My point is that officers are using them in situations where deadly force would be unthinkable and they doing this because they do not view them as being deadly.

      1. The blog demonstrably does not put Tasers in the deadly force category – it mentions taser in the “serious aggravated resistance” category, because it is perfectly acceptable in terms of training and law to deploy a taser when officers are facing high levels of threat, but short of deadly force. I appreciate your view that this should not be so, or that it isn’t right – but that’s how Taser training and accountability is delivered.

        I also think, with regard to your various points, that it’s your use of language like “chemical weapons” and “execute” that undermine the credibility of your argument. No-one is oblivious to the ongoing debate about taser and how it is a controversial piece of equipment; no one is oblivious to incidents where some police officers’ use of force has been less-than-nuanced and inappropriate. We know some uses of force we know about are outrageous and, of course, police officers deserve to be held to account.

        I think where your expression of dissatisfaction is going to struggle is on the point about Tasers being potentially deadly weapons and that officers should bear in mind that they could be about “to execute” people: given that a proper deployment of Taser would be around situations where officers are facing threats from edged weapons or similar levels of violence, it would often seem that using a Taser in such situations is appropriate. I wonder whether Alex STYPULKOWSKI wishes he’d had a Taser when he was stabbed in the neck and nearly died? Of course, had he used a Taser early enough to have prevented the incident which subsequently unfolded, it would have been perfecly possible to ask whether he’d used the equipment too early and was he “really” facing a serious danger that warranted such a reaction because how could he have known that the screwdriver which would nearly kill him was really going to be driven into his neck?

      2. Tend to agree with the view that you have a personal issue with police, rather than objective concern regards police tactics.

        Media reports on ‘taser deaths’ are interesting. For example one ongoing case reported as a taser death had the cardiac arrest occur more than an hour after the use of taser. Ventricular fibriliation caused by electrical stimulation occurs instantly and the person will collapse within seconds. Looking at the alleged 700 deaths ‘following the use of taser’ we come down to a tiny number that fit this pattern, eg. single case reports in the literature. In contrast, one report describes 1.2 million uses of taser (including 700,000 on officers volunteering to be tasered during training) with no fatalities.

        You state 100ma stops a persons heart, but in reality the crucial issue is joules of energy, eg 100-400j in a hospital defibrilator. Multiple studies have tested this. Taser yields a small fraction of the required energy, realistically 1/40 even with deliberate attempts to create a worst case scenario.

        In contrast, highly disturbed people (‘excited delirium’) genuinely do die literally during manual restraint – considered a lower force option than taser by UK police. Claims that this is purely due to ‘police brutality’ somewhat countered by similar deaths in the hands of people from nurses to the general public. Most recently the death of a person allegedly obbing a betting shop. Arguably, the trained police officers were the first to recognise the danger of the way he was being restrained by the public and attempt to save his life.

        In the real world no response to violence is totally safe – including the ‘do nothing’ option. Choices are about which option poses least risk.

  6. I’m not going to pretend that i don’t have issue with Policing. My experiences with officer have given me those issues and concerns but do my personal experiences with bad policing make any of the points i make any less valid?

    As a taxpayer and a member of the public i can see faults in the service provided by the Police which serving,officers are unable or unwilling to see.
    It is a fact that locally the number of people who have faith in the Police is little over fifty percent. Local officers managed to raise this statistic recently by a few percentage points and were almost screaming it from the rooftops yet to the rest of us such low figures are a disgrace and show that something needs to change and that something needs to change quickly.

    The status quo is not working and we need people whose minds are not closed to push through new ideas which will at least have a chance of improving things.

    Whose mind is closed i can almost hear you ask, as a serving officer you don’t consider you mind to be closed and you don’t think that way about the colleagues whom you trust with your life.

    Serving the public as a police officer is not an easy task. You deal with the dregs of society on a regular basis, you come into contact with crimes and people so heinous that it changes you as a person. You do, or may do all of the terrible things as part of you job such as visiting someone to tell them their loved ones have been killed, or removing a child from it parents. You are part of an elite club, you are trained in combat and hardened to violence, hardened to seeing suffering and hardened to being the cause of suffering both physical and financial.

    You probably see yourself as a nice person who really is doing the world a favour, protecting people from dangers and dangerous people. You believe that you do everything you can to do your job to the best of your ability.

    That’s all great but what happens when someone rightly or wrongly criticizes the work you or one of your fellow officers does? Yes that’s right, you reject that criticism. You reject it without giving it a second thought, it is an automatic reflex. It is consequence of the training, trust and comradeship you share with your fellow police officers.

    I don’t have the same training as you, i have walked my own path and am trained in different arts. Namely those of my vocation, I don’t need to trust my colleagues and the level of comradeship we share is very low. We have lead very different lives, seen different things. I am far more open to criticism than you. when i receive it i resist the temptation to reject it, i analyse it and try my best to improve.

    Police Officers cannot accept criticism and certainly can’t be the source of it, after all when your faced with danger, your life is under threat a you need urgent assistance, could you really trust the man you have just deeply offended, whose career you have just placed into jeopardy by criticizing last weeks performance? Think about that carefully.

    As a member of the public i can see numerous glaring faults with the Police. I can bring those faults into discussion and i can criticize the Police. I can suggest improvements and i can do this safely. Serving officers cannot.

    This is the root of many problems. It is the thing which stops Police officers being accountable.

    1. I’m not a police officer.

      I’m quite happy to debate the matter.

      It might help to see two issues here: policy vs conduct of individuals. The original blog is about use of force policy.

      1. I ignore policies many times each working week because they are not, necessarily binding. The question is whether what officers do is lawful. You cannot write policies that cover every facet of policing and always apply – you sometimes have to improvise your way through situations against a framework of broader legal responsibilities and this is seen in the fact that the service are increasingly looking at values based decision-making and this is encapsulated in a the Stalinist-sounding “National Decision Making Model”.

        Those of us who have written policies for the police or multi-partnership arrangements know how you cannot always plan and prepare for every contingency.

    2. No, I am more than willing to accept when the police are wrong and when I am personally wrong. I do not like being called and do not think I am closed minded and not sure you can label 140,000 people that way. Like many now the days of joining at 18 after cadets are long gone. More often than not officers now join mid 20’s/30’s and I had a number of jobs beforehand so I do like to think I have a slightly realistic outlook and am not indoctrinated with the police way and I think a fair few of my colleagues are the same.

      Police officers are more than accountable, own supervisors, PSD, IPCC, coroners court, criminal courts, daily mail – I am not sure how you can argue they aren’t, they are probably one of the closest scrutinised agencies of the lot!

      1. Personal experience has shown me different and while i can’t say how widespread my experiences are, they are real and nothing anyone can say can change that.

        In the dubious world of West Yorkshire Police,Officers are willing to tell blatant lies to keep their colleagues out of trouble and when you try go go higher, nothing gets done because a funny handshake and a quick word someones ear down the lodge can make any complaint go away.

        The IPCC is a toothless tiger which exists only to protect officers. The IPCC works under the assumption that Police Officers always tell the truth and will always do its best to steer away from commenting on any obvious failings. The Coroner here in West Yorkshire is currently under investigation. The Chief Constable was forced to resign in disgrace as his involvement in covering up the truth about the Hillsborough disaster came to light. His predecessor was involved in covering up widespread grooming in Bradford, he even ordered a TV program about the subject to be taken off the air and anyone who raised the subject to be arrested.
        Criminal courts? How does anyone manage to take an officer to court when his colleagues back him up and refuse to act? And the daily mail are too busy making fun of the red tops to get involved in anything minor.

        The situation might be different where you are. My experience is here in west yorkshire.

  7. ‘My original point is about individual officers ignoring the policy and not being held to account.’ – Richard.

    Which is off topic.

    The original blog is on use of force policy, not personal opinions about professional standards/discipline.

    I can still read above where you are saying taser is a ‘lethal weapon,’ in response to one of my posts. Also claims that CS is contrary to chemical warfare conventions. That’s not consistent with your current claim to be discussing accountability.

    1. Tasers are lethal weapons they have killed people and will kill more people in the future.

      CS is a chemical weapon and its use in warfare is banned by the Geneva protocol and the Chemical Weapons Conventions. Domestic use by officers is not covered by the conventions because it is not warfare.

      These are easily verifiable facts.

      All the issues which are being discussed are related, are they are on topic. You might not like this and you have that right but your not liking it changes nothing.

      1. Then what do you suggest Richard? If Tasers are “lethal” (they’re not) and CS spray is a “chemical weapon” (it’s not, it’s an incapacitant spray)? What should police officers use to protect themselves and perhaps more importantly, you?

        I’m all ears because you appear to know more about these things than those who use them daily and are both trained and authorised in their use.

        You accuse police officers of having a closed mind but if I may be so forthright, perhaps a little reflection on your own experiences and how they may affect your judgement of the police as a whole may be in order.

        I’ll be the first to admit I’m protective of my colleagues and “the job” because you know what, it’s not easy and it’s very difficult to explain the range of experiences and emotions that the job entails. I accept that but I am not blind to the failings of the police nor am I blind to those who wish to tarnish every officer because of their own negative experiences.

  8. Dave.
    I have already made it clear that Tasers have a place in modern policing. My main issue with the devices is that they kill people but officers are fed propaganda which suggests otherwise. Clearly you are a victim of this propaganda.
    Watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eEt74_BUC38

    CS Spray is a chemical weapon, this is impossible to deny and i really don’t know why you are trying to deny it. Its use on civilians is legal under international law. I realise that the title chemical weapon is one which officers and politicians would rather not hear used.

    Officers can use whatever they want to protect themselves, as long as they are accountable for their actions. The policy above is fine in the most part and if adhered to offers won’t have much to worry about. If they don’t stick to it and decide to shoot unarmed elderly blind men then they should be in jail.

    I’m aware of my own experiences being negative yet in recent years i have recruited 7 staff 3 of which have been retired police officers 1 Sargent and 2 constables. I did also interview another retired officer (an inspector) but i did not feel he was suitable for the role he applied for. My line of work involves lots of working alongside Police officers, members of the armed forces and local authorities. We serve members of the public. Our number one aim is to make money, number two is to ensure that the public are happy with the service we provide. In my experience getting retired officers to provide exceptional service is quite easy and once properly trained they perform very well.

    You didn’t know any of this because you don’t think highly enough of me because of the line i take when posting here. You can imagine the many discussions and debates my employees have had with me over my view of Policing. Do i need to reflect? Possibly, but possibly not as much as you think.

    When you quit or retire from the Police you will see things differently. When you come to work for someone like me, and are given that little bit of extra people skills training and behavioral observation training, when you don’t have the stresses of numerical targets and politicised bosses enforcing those targets, when you don’t have to watch your own or your colleagues back and when 98% of the people you come into contact with are happy to see you arrive you will see things differently.

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