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Police Use of Force in the United Kingdom and United States: A Contrast of Culture

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Cristina Caamano

Professor Das Iyer

BIO 3709*07

25 April 2018

Research Day Extra Credit

For the research day extra credit opportunity I chose to attend a presentation called “Police Use of Force in the United Kingdom and United States: A Contrast of Culture”.  What was interesting to me was that the presenter himself was part of the police force here in the United States which made all of his arguments, to me at least, more compelling because of the experience he had. This presentation was on the history of the police force focusing on comparing the United States and the United Kingdom’s way of using force.  The presenter mentioned that the research he conducted started out as a comparative study but as he got to the end of his research it had changed.   The research focused solely on the metropolitan police (United Kingdom’s police force)  and the United States police force.

There was a major difference between our police force and the police force in London.  That being, the United Kingdom’s way of thinking goes along the lines of assuming that each individual they approach is unarmed. While, in the United States the assumption is that the individual is always armed.  Our police force, in my opinion has the wrong approach between the two.  If we are to assume the worst then the worst is bound to happen.  I say this because once you put these possible outcomes you tend to build up all these emotions and bad situations that could happen that's where the mindset is set.  Therefore nothing good will come out of that situation because that's what you’re making it to be before anything even happens.  While the Metropolitan police in the United Kingdom approach it with a calm mindset which at times may not be the best but at least the cops are not on edge and mistaken a bag of skittles in someone's pocket for a weapon per say and shoot a man just because they assume the worst.  But like the presenter touched upon in his presentation, the UK and the US have very different issues when it came to law breakers and those situations in general.

The presentation went on to look at the uniforms, weapons, and hats that each police force used to wear back in the day.  And by back in the day i mean as far as the 1800’s.  What was interesting was that the United Kingdom police force did not own any type of gun until 1829.  They used to carry around bats, or as we call them today batons, until one day the police got into a “fight” with some civilians who had guns and many policemen died from this incident which pushed the force to buy guns in the first place.

This presentation was very interesting to me because I for one am very intrigued with the law and the way other police forces work.  Also the comparison of the two was fascinating to me because I want to know if any other police forces have killed as many civilians when in hindsight there was no need to (at least that's my opinion on some cases),  as the united states (especially now). Because I personally believe if the person of interest is not really shooting at you there is no reason for a police officer to fire back, but if it’s a must do not shoot the person to death to me that's unnecessary.  In the end this presentation was very interesting and I am glad I attended.

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