Is muscular strength a critical physical attribute for the apprehension of a simulated non-compliant suspect?

Kent Delbridge, Joanne Caldwell, Kane Middleton, Jace R. Drain, Adam Hayes, Catriona A. Burdon, Herbert Groeller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This investigation determined the influence of technique and experience on arm retraction force required to apprehend a non-compliant suspect. Phase-One: Nine experienced RAAF military-police completed four apprehension simulations, peak arm retraction force was measured; i) Control(CON), ii) Pressure-Point(PP), iii) Targeted-Striking(TS) and iv) 2-Person(2Per) techniques. Phase-Two: Experienced (EXP, n = 8) or Inexperienced (INEXP, n = 22) military-police completed CON, PP and Pressure-Point + Coaching(PP + C). Strength was assessed in INEXP. EXP produced more force (178.7 N ± 25.9) than INEXP during CON, but no participant successfully apprehended the suspect. All EXP were successful with PP, arm retraction force 357 N (CI: 233.7,480.2) was lower compared to CON, but no difference was observed between PP and CON for INEXP. PP + C, 82% of INEXP were successful, force declined 138.2 N (CI: 67.8,208.5) compared to CON. All EXP required PP for successful apprehension. INEXP required PP + C for apprehension success. Muscular strength had a limited relationship with arm retraction force. Practitioner summary: For law enforcement personnel, apprehension of a suspect is a critical and physically demanding task, where success is associated with muscular strength and technique. We observed success in the apprehension of a simulated suspect by military law enforcement personnel was primarily determined by participant skill and experience and not muscular strength.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1183–1190
Number of pages8
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • fitness
  • incumbents
  • performance
  • Physical employment standard
  • selection

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