Stress management related to the use of firearms in the police force

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Capitaine Pierre-Frédérick BERTAUX

Captain, French Police Service

Seminar Working breakfasts | Tuesday February 10, 1998

All policemen are allowed to use firearms to protect themselves or a third party, on the proviso that there is a legitimate reason. The French police force deploys some thirty thousand officers. 'Mistakes' are not as frequent as one might expect. In France, between 1989 and 1996, according to a study by Pierre-Frédérick Beraux, on average, one policeman in a thousand used his gun in any one year, and less than one in ten was punished. Like all people who experience 'extreme' events, policemen usually react very poorly, even if the shooting is justified. The policeman responsible may suffer immediate emotional or post-traumatic stress and even long-term personality change, and may become a shadow of his former self. Such consequences must be borne in mind so that preventative measures can be taken to ensure that the policeman who was merely carrying out his duty when using his gun, can resume his normal activities.

The entire article was written by:

Lucien CLAES

This session was published in issue n°13 of the Journal de l'École de Paris du management, entitled Savoir s'étonner .

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