The frequency and nature of resolution of potential police provoked shooting encounters

Louise McLeod, Stuart David Michael Thomas, Dragana Kesic

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Helping people in acute psychiatric crisis has become an increasingly common part of modern community policing. In certain extreme cases, police may be faced with a suicidal individual who intends to intentionally provoke police to shoot them. While fatalities are fortunately rare, anecdotal reports from frontline police suggest that these kinds of encounters are occurring on a regular basis. This paper explores 2350 psychiatric crisis incidents over an eight-month period in Victoria, Australia, and assesses the frequency and nature of potential police-provoked shootings resolved through non-fatal means. Contextual factors relating to the person s behaviour and police responses, and the person s psychiatric and criminal histories were considered to elucidate characteristics common to these incidents. Results suggest that police are potentially encountering a person who is suicidal and trying to provoke police to shoot them more than twice a week. These individuals share a number of common characteristics with those who have been fatally shot in similar circumstances and are quite different from those who attempt self-inflicted suicide. Results are discussed in relation to the impact of previous criminal contact from both the suspect and police perspectives
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383 - 389
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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