What can we learn from them? I know. Nothing. Because this is America. Exceptionalism and all that. I'm not saying we could go to this model overnight, damnit! But we could still learn from it. We could learn a lot from other countries, if we got around to looking. If we start looking at police in other countries, next thing you know we'll have socialism and universal health care.
Man... that's a lot of disclaimers for a thought provoking piece in the Washington Post about Britain's police and their tendency to not shoot people.
Of course there are differences -- big differences, mostly with guns and gun laws -- between the US and UK. No need to point this out. I know. But it's not like England doesn't have guns. There are about 1.8 million legally owned guns in England and Wales.
The stats are amazing. In all of England and Wales, with 56 million people, only about 5 officers discharge their firearm in any given year. (Killing about 3 people per year. There are about 550 homicides over there in all. About 44 or so with guns.)
About 1 in 13 gun killings in the US are committed by law enforcement. That probably means something like 1 in 20 of all homicides (I have not done the math. But 5 percent is probably a good ballpark figure). That figure kind of shocks me. In England and UK, it's about 0.5 percent. (For what it's worth, police over there are still responsible for about 1 in 13 gun killings. It's just the numbers for both are a lot lower.)