Law enforcement officers in the USA have one of the highest lethal force rates in the world. A shortcoming of previous research on the use of force is that officer-subject encounters are observed as static events, and not a complex escalation of behaviours. Behaviour sequence analysis can identify common pathways that show chains of behaviours occurring at a level greater than what was expected by chance. The current study used 40 body-worn camera videos of officer-subject interactions leading to either lethal or non-lethal outcomes. The current results show that officers are more likely to use lethal force in response to physical threats from subjects, and likewise, use non-lethal force in response to verbal threats. The outcomes of this research extend to law enforcement and public safety, to understand and potentially reduce use of force incidents, particularly lethal force. It also serves to highlight the dynamic and challenging nature of these interactions to aid in establishing a greater rapport between officers and the communities they serve.

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Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Department of Psychology

Longridge, R. (R.), Chapman, B. (B.), Bennell, C, Clarke, D.D. (D. D.), & Keatley, D. (D.). (2020). Behaviour Sequence Analysis of Police Body-Worn Camera Footage. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology. doi:10.1007/s11896-020-09393-z