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by Peter Moskos

December 11, 2015

Useful lessons from Scotland on less-lethal policing

In the New York Times.


Concerned citizen said...

With regard to the entire U.K., check out the video of the non-lethal police response to the recent subway knife attack in London. The knife-wielder-- who had just finished hacking away at the neck of an innocent passerby and to all appearances was a homicidal psycho--made a threatening advance towards a bevy of unarmed London cops, who quickly retreated, but ultimately were successful with a taser.

In my opinion, under the same exact circumstances in America, the perpetrator would have been shot dead when he made his threatening advance (bloody knife in hand) towards the cops. (And I would consider it a justified OIS).

Adam said...

Great article. I don't think we can realistically aspire to have as few police shootings as European countries because of our much higher levels of gun possession and violence. Even if American cops are highly trained and perfectly composed under stress, they'll still have to shoot a lot of people, because there are a lot of armed, dangerous criminals in this country who won't give them any choice in the matter.

But when it comes to suspects who are unarmed or armed with something other than a gun, I think American cops are often too quick to shoot, and this kind of training could go a long way. That damn 21-foot rule has probably resulted in hundreds if not thousands of avoidable deaths. And I don't mean to suggest that "avoidable" police shootings are necessarily criminal acts. Some are, but most aren't. The cops are doing what they were trained to do, but that training can lead to outcomes like this.

Concerned citizen said...

In the NYT article, Bernard Higgins, "Scotland’s use-of-force expert," notes that there is a “pathological hatred of officers wearing our uniform” in pockets of Scotland.

Please note that these localized instances of pathological hatred exist despite the fact that:

--constables live where they work
--embrace their role as “guardians of the community,” not warriors from a policing subculture.
--“..even in the areas where there’s high levels of crime, high levels of social deprivation, is it’s community-based policing by unarmed officers,”
--“We police from an absolute position of embracing democracy"

Concerned citizen said...

Following up on my previous post, the NYT article supports the notion that "people don't have a problem with the police; they have a problem with the LAW."

I hope American police de-escalate; but we should have realistic expectations. Scotland's example suggests that "pathological hatred" of cops in the hood is a basic aspect of human nature.