Police Use of Force
A Global Perspective
by Joseph B. Kuhns and Johannes Knutsson, Editors
April 2010, 264pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-36326-9
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-0-313-36327-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The extent to which police should use force in thwarting crime is a subject of hot debate. Some countries do not routinely arm police officers with guns. Elsewhere, officers are sometimes required by law to fire warning shots or attempt to injure a suspect before commencing with deadly force. In still other nations, such actions are considered unlawful and officers are trained to shoot to kill.

A team of expert contributors provides an in-depth exploration of police use of force, firearms, and less-than-lethal weapons from a dozen countries across five continents.

Police Use of Force: A Global Perspective is a fascinating, international exploration of police use of force, firearms, and less-than-lethal weapons in nations around the world. The book is comprised of three sections: the first focuses on the use of force generally, the second explores firearms and deadly force, and the final section considers less-than-lethal weapons, including pepper spray, TASERs, and other emerging technologies currently on the horizon.

The essays gathered here will provide readers with an understanding of the vast differences in how police use force in various countries, as well as why police use force differently under different forms of government. Topics covered include use-of-force definitions, training procedures, policy issues, abuse of police authority, use of force during interrogations, and the use of firearms by armed and unarmed police forces. Finally, there is an essay focusing on how shooting and killing a suspect impacts an officer in the months and years that follow.


  • 20 chapters cover many aspects of the use of force by police around the world
  • A bibliography offers resources for further research
Joseph B. Kuhns, PhD, is assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, NC. Prior to joining the faculty, he served for eight years as a senior policy analyst at the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Dr. Kuhns has worked on dozens of research and evaluation projects that focused on reducing the harms associated with prostitution, community policing and problem solving, police use of force, and drug and violent crime relationships.

Johannes Knutsson, PhD, is professor of police research at the Norwegian Police University College, Oslo, Norway. Dr. Knutsson also has a part-time position as professor at the Swedish National Police Board and is a visiting professor atUCL Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, London University College. His research interest has primarily been crime prevention and evaluation of crime preventive measures. Other topics are problem-oriented policing, police use of firearms, uniformed police service, crowd management and control, and police investigative work.


Outstanding Academic Title, 2010—Choice, January 1, 2011


"The editors have produced a scholarly, broad-based exploration of the highly charged and controversial subject of force as used in law enforcement. The contributors skillfully examine the impact that police shooting incidents have on law enforcement officers and the often-overwhelming post-event health issues. Extensive international perspectives and contributions provide multiple points of view that illuminate complex social, cultural, and political influences, some of which permit, if not actually encourage, police officers' excessive use of force. The findings also allow readers to consider the history of US police-related force issues in a more global context, especially by examining societal acceptance of the impact of force through the lens of social norms. Academics who study criminal justice, law, and the difficulties of policing in a democratic society will surely praise the thoroughness with which the authors scrutinize the topic. In addition, this research very successfully engages with related peripheral social science disciplines, specifically sociology, psychology, and political science. This book is an excellent addition for criminal justice collections. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division criminal justice, policing, or social science collections."—Choice, November 1, 2010
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