Police in gun control study

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.

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