The way police forces select officers for firearms duty could be transformed as a result of new research.
Janice Leggett, a forensic clinical psychologist for Bath and North East Somerset Primary Care Trust, analysed how 54 Gwent police officers, who were being trained in the use of firearms, reacted in conflict situations.
Leggett based her research on an approach called attribution theory, which looks at what people attribute as being the cause of certain events.
In the interactive tests, the officers had to react to different scenarios involving criminals and members of the public. They had to decide when to shoot laser guns at filmed images, which included bank robbers.
They then answered a questionnaire, which asked how they could explain the negative and positive events that had happened in the tests.
The research results showed that people who think they are in control of a situation are less likely to react with an extreme or negative response.
Leggett said, "If officers see themselves as being in control they are likely to perform better."
Gwent Police are interested in continuing the research, which Leggett believes could be used by police forces to identify which officers are suitable for firearms.