Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 95–110 | Cite as

Researching the use of force: the background to the international project

  • Philip StenningEmail author
  • Christopher Birkbeck
  • Otto Adang
  • David Baker
  • Thomas Feltes
  • Luis Gerardo Gabaldón
  • Maki Haberfeld
  • Eduardo Paes Machado
  • P. A. J. Waddington


This article provides the background to an international project on use of force by the police that was carried out in seven countries. Force is often considered to be the defining characteristic of policing and much research has been conducted on the determinants, prevalence and control of the use of force, particularly in the United States. However, little work has looked at police officers’ own views on the use of force, in particular the way in which they justify it. Using a hypothetical encounter developed for this project, researchers in each country conducted focus groups with police officers in which they were encouraged to talk about the use of force. The results show interesting similarities and differences across countries and demonstrate the value of using this kind of research focus and methodology.


Focus Group Police Officer Focus Group Participant Police Work Normative Framework 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Stenning
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christopher Birkbeck
    • 2
  • Otto Adang
    • 3
    • 4
  • David Baker
    • 5
  • Thomas Feltes
    • 6
  • Luis Gerardo Gabaldón
    • 7
  • Maki Haberfeld
    • 8
  • Eduardo Paes Machado
    • 9
  • P. A. J. Waddington
    • 10
  1. 1.School of Sociology & CriminologyKeele UniversityKeeleUK
  2. 2.School of English, Sociology, Politics and Contemporary HistoryUniversity of SalfordSalfordUK
  3. 3.Netherlands Police AcademyApeldoornNetherlands
  4. 4.ApeldoornNetherlands
  5. 5.Criminal Justice, School of Humanities, Communications and Social SciencesMonash UniversityChurchillAustralia
  6. 6.Criminology, Criminal Justice Policy and Police ScienceRuhr-University BochumBochumGermany
  7. 7.Instituto de Investigaciones JurídicasUniversidad Católica Andrés BelloCaracasVenezuela
  8. 8.John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)New YorkUSA
  9. 9.Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências HumanasUniversidade Federal da BahíaSalvadorBrazil
  10. 10.History and Governance Research InstituteUniversity of WolverhamptonWolverhamptonUK

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