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Force, stress, and decision-making within the Belgian police : the impact of stressful situations on police decision-making

Antoinette Verhage (UGent) , Jannie Noppe (UGent) , Yinthe Feys (UGent) and Eva Ledegen
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Abstract
Stress and fear are inevitable aspects of the police job, and may have a large impact on police officers’ decision making process. Many studies have explored how stress and fear may influence assessments of police officers, especially with regard to the use of force. This article aims to contribute to this research domain by reporting the findings from two empirical studies amongst Belgian police officers: a quantitative study of police officers’ attitudes towards and experiences with the use of force; and a qualitative study on the influence of stress and emotions on officers’ decision making and assessment abilities and accuracy of shooting. Both studies confirmed that stress and fear are often present in Belgian police practice. One of the main findings is that Belgian police officers are anxious about the consequences of their actions because they know they will be held accountable for them. The pressure that results from this accountability can make it even more difficult for police officers to react to stressful situations. Therefore, we need to look for the right balance in this difficult position, by providing tools that support police officers in making daily decisions and help them do their job as effectively as possible.
Keywords
Police use of force, stress, fear, decision making

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Chicago
Verhage, Antoinette, Jannie Noppe, Yinthe Feys, and Eva Ledegen. 2018. “Force, Stress, and Decision-making Within the Belgian Police : the Impact of Stressful Situations on Police Decision-making.” Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 33 (4): 345–357.
APA
Verhage, A., Noppe, J., Feys, Y., & Ledegen, E. (2018). Force, stress, and decision-making within the Belgian police : the impact of stressful situations on police decision-making. JOURNAL OF POLICE AND CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGY, 33(4), 345–357.
Vancouver
1.
Verhage A, Noppe J, Feys Y, Ledegen E. Force, stress, and decision-making within the Belgian police : the impact of stressful situations on police decision-making. JOURNAL OF POLICE AND CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGY. New York: Springer Nature; 2018;33(4):345–57.
MLA
Verhage, Antoinette, Jannie Noppe, Yinthe Feys, et al. “Force, Stress, and Decision-making Within the Belgian Police : the Impact of Stressful Situations on Police Decision-making.” JOURNAL OF POLICE AND CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGY 33.4 (2018): 345–357. Print.
@article{8553894,
  abstract     = {Stress and fear are inevitable aspects of the police job, and may have a large impact on police officers’ decision making process. Many studies have explored how stress and fear may influence assessments of police officers, especially with regard to the use of force. This article aims to contribute to this research domain by reporting the findings from two empirical studies amongst Belgian police officers: a quantitative study of police officers’ attitudes towards and experiences with the use of force; and a qualitative study on the influence of stress and emotions on officers’ decision making and assessment abilities and accuracy of shooting. Both studies confirmed that stress and fear are often present in Belgian police practice. One of the main findings is that Belgian police officers are anxious about the consequences of their actions because they know they will be held accountable for them. The pressure that results from this accountability can make it even more difficult for police officers to react to stressful situations. Therefore, we need to look for the right balance in this difficult position, by providing tools that support police officers in making daily decisions and help them do their job as effectively as possible.},
  author       = {Verhage, Antoinette and Noppe, Jannie and Feys, Yinthe and Ledegen, Eva},
  issn         = {0882-0783},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF POLICE AND CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGY},
  keywords     = {Police use of force,stress,fear,decision making},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {345--357},
  publisher    = {Springer Nature},
  title        = {Force, stress, and decision-making within the Belgian police : the impact of stressful situations on police decision-making},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11896-018-9262-4},
  volume       = {33},
  year         = {2018},
}

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