Policing & the use of force: less lethal weapons
University of Exeter
Policing: a Journal of Policy and Practice
Oxford University Press
In recent years, considerable attention has been given to the role of ‘less lethal’ options in alleviating the varied problems associated with the police use of force. Highly supportive claims have been made by manufacturers, police agencies, and others relating to the ability of such devices to result in reduced injuries to both officers and members of the public. Special Issue 3 of Policing regarding the ‘Use of Force’, for instance, included various positive statements about the place and purpose of less lethal weapons. While not wishing to completely dismiss such claims, this article seeks to bring scrutiny to bear on them. The basis for this skepticism derives from recasting common depictions of these weapons within the spectrum of force options, considering the past history of their deployment, and moving beyond treating them in a narrow, technical manner.
Post-print version. 24 month embargo by the publisher. Article will be released December 2009. This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Policing: a Journal of Policy and Practice following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version vol.1, issue 4, pp.472-484, 2007, is available online at: http://policing.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/1/4/472