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Concept: Constable


A geographically-resolved, multi-level Bayesian model is used to analyze the data presented in the U.S. Police-Shooting Database (USPSD) in order to investigate the extent of racial bias in the shooting of American civilians by police officers in recent years. In contrast to previous work that relied on the FBI’s Supplemental Homicide Reports that were constructed from self-reported cases of police-involved homicide, this data set is less likely to be biased by police reporting practices. County-specific relative risk outcomes of being shot by police are estimated as a function of the interaction of: 1) whether suspects/civilians were armed or unarmed, and 2) the race/ethnicity of the suspects/civilians. The results provide evidence of a significant bias in the killing of unarmed black Americans relative to unarmed white Americans, in that the probability of being {black, unarmed, and shot by police} is about 3.49 times the probability of being {white, unarmed, and shot by police} on average. Furthermore, the results of multi-level modeling show that there exists significant heterogeneity across counties in the extent of racial bias in police shootings, with some counties showing relative risk ratios of 20 to 1 or more. Finally, analysis of police shooting data as a function of county-level predictors suggests that racial bias in police shootings is most likely to emerge in police departments in larger metropolitan counties with low median incomes and a sizable portion of black residents, especially when there is high financial inequality in that county. There is no relationship between county-level racial bias in police shootings and crime rates (even race-specific crime rates), meaning that the racial bias observed in police shootings in this data set is not explainable as a response to local-level crime rates.

Concepts: Constable, White American, Bayes factor, Relative risk, Crime, Scientific method, Police, United States


Policing is generally considered a high-risk profession for the development of mental health problems, but this assumption lacks empirical evidence. Research question of the present study is to what extent mental health disturbances, such as (very) severe symptoms of anxiety, depression and hostility are more prevalent among police officers than among other occupational groups.

Concepts: Police officer, Empirical research, Mental disorder, Constable, Research, Epidemiology, Police, Psychology


While extensive research has studied sexual assault reporting behaviors and described negative experiences with the criminal justice system among victim-survivors, fewer studies have explored police officer attitudes, knowledge, and thought processes that may affect victims' perceptions of negative interactions and unsatisfactory outcomes within reported sexual assault cases. This study explores police officer understanding of the definition of sexual assault and characteristics that influence their perceptions and response. Ten police officers were interviewed within one police department in a midsized city in the Great Lakes region. The study uses a modified grounded theory approach. Findings suggest that officers employ distinct schema of reported sexual assaults. Case characteristics, perceived credibility of the victim, and types of evidence formed categorizations of false reports, ambiguous cases, and legitimate sexual assaults. Police officers describe the ways in which perceptions of the case may or may not influence the response and point to areas for improvement within police procedure. The study findings provide insight into recommendations for improved police interviewing and response to reported sexual assaults.

Concepts: Police officer, Great Lakes, Constable, Sexual assault, Criminal justice, Rape, Crime, Police


Social justice issues remain some of the most pressing problems in the United States. One aspect of social justice involves the differential treatment of demographic groups in the criminal justice system. While data consistently show that Blacks and Hispanics are often treated differently than Whites, one understudied aspect of these disparities is how police officers' assessments of suspects' size affects their decisions. Using over 3 million cases from the New York Police Department (NYPD) Stop, Question, and Frisk (SQF) Database, 2006-2013, this study is the first to explore suspects' race, perceived size, and police treatment. Results indicate that tall and heavy black and Hispanic men are at the greatest risk for frisk or search. Tall and heavy suspects are at increased risk for experiencing police force, with black and Hispanic men being more likely to experience force than white men across size categories.

Concepts: White American, Constable, Hispanic and Latino Americans, United States, White people, Crime, Criminal justice, Police


Objectives. We surveyed young men on their experiences of police encounters and subsequent mental health. Methods. Between September 2012 and March 2013, we conducted a population-based telephone survey of 1261 young men aged 18 to 26 years in New York City. Respondents reported how many times they were approached by New York Police Department officers, what these encounters entailed, any trauma they attributed to the stops, and their overall anxiety. We analyzed data using cross-sectional regressions. Results. Participants who reported more police contact also reported more trauma and anxiety symptoms, associations tied to how many stops they reported, the intrusiveness of the encounters, and their perceptions of police fairness. Conclusions. The intensity of respondent experiences and their associated health risks raise serious concerns, suggesting a need to reevaluate officer interactions with the public. Less invasive tactics are needed for suspects who may display mental health symptoms and to reduce any psychological harms to individuals stopped. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print October 16, 2014: e1-e7. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302046).

Concepts: Public safety, Legal professions, Polizeiwissenschaft, Constable, Police, London, New York City, Psychology


The perceived threat of HIV transmission through spitting and biting is evidenced by the increasing use of “spit hoods” by Police Forces in the UK. In addition, a draft parliamentary bill has called for increased penalties for assaults on emergency workers, citing the risk of communicable disease transmission as one justification. We aimed to review literature relating to the risk of HIV transmission through biting or spitting.

Concepts: Constable, Medicine, AIDS, Infectious disease, HIV, United Kingdom, Epidemiology, Tuberculosis


BackgroundA major incident involving multiple fatalities occurred in Cumbria, England on 2 June 2010. The Cumbrian Constabulary deployed an organizational peer support response for personnel involved known as trauma risk management (TRiM).AimsTo examine data routinely gathered during the TRiM process to evaluate the relationship of the intervention to sickness absence.MethodsUsing incident databases, details were gathered regarding exposure to the murders and type of TRiM intervention, including an assessment of the psychological risk to the individual of developing a trauma-related mental health problem. Sociodemographic information was collated by the occupational health department. Cumulative sickness absence data in the 2 months following the murders were used as a proxy for mental health status.ResultsA total of 717 police officers and civilian support staff were identified. High levels of traumatic exposure were associated with subsequent receipt of a TRiM intervention. The majority of psychological risk indices reduced between the initial and subsequent evaluation. Greater traumatic exposure was associated with longer sickness absence lengths. Engagement in the TRiM process was associated with a reduction in sickness absence especially in more junior ranks.ConclusionsIn this study, we found that TRiM deployed within a police force responding to a major event offered a way of structuring a response for those involved. Our data suggest that TRiM may offer a way of assessing psychological risk so that officers can be offered early supportive interventions. Our data suggest that TRiM may help to ameliorate some of the negative effects of high trauma exposure.

Concepts: Intervention, Management, Security, Constable, Mental health, Risk, Police


An online survey gathered the experiences and views of 394 police officers (from England and Wales) regarding autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Just 42 % of officers were satisfied with how they had worked with individuals with ASD and reasons for this varied. Although officers acknowledged the need for adjustments, organisational/time constraints were cited as barriers. Whilst 37 % of officers had received training on ASD, a need for training tailored to policing roles (e.g., frontline officers, detectives) was identified. Police responses are discussed with respect to the experiences of the ASD community (31 adults with ASD, 49 parents), who were largely dissatisfied with their experience of the police and echoed the need for police training on ASD.

Concepts: London, Pervasive developmental disorder, Constable, The Police, Autism spectrum, Asperger syndrome, Autism, Police


Law and order enforcement tasks may expose special force police officers to significant psychosocial risk factors. The aim of this work is to investigate the relationship between job stress and the presence of mental health symptoms while controlling sociodemographical, occupational and personality variables in special force police officers.

Concepts: Mental disorder, Force, Special police, Constable, Stress, Special constable, Occupational health psychology, Police


In almost all states in the United States, to carry a concealed handgun legally requires a permit from the police. Many states have changed from may-issue laws (where the local police chief has discretion about to whom to issue a license) to shall-issue laws (where the police chief must issue a permit if the applicant passes a computerized federal background check). Studies conflict on the effect on crime. None considered the situation in may-issue states when police used discretion and refused to issue a permit. We provide suggestive evidence from a December 2013 survey of police chiefs in Massachusetts' 351 cities and towns. Of the 121 responding police chiefs, a large majority favored retaining police discretion. Chiefs issued few discretionary denials - median 2 per year, citing providing false information, a history of assault (often domestic violence), a history of drug or alcohol abuse, or of mental-health issues as the most common reasons for denial.Journal of Public Health Policy advance online publication, 16 April 2015; doi:10.1057/jphp.2015.11.

Concepts: Law of the United States, U.S. state, Chief of police, Alcoholism, Universal health care, Constable, Domestic violence, United States