Armed and Disarmed Police: Police Firearms Policy and Levels of Violence

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Armed and Disarmed Police: Police Firearms Policy and Levels of Violence

Category: Homicide, International|Journal: Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency|Author: G Hawkins, P Ward|Year: 1970

This article describes an attempt to determine whether arming the police does or does not tend to increase the level of violence in a community. The study was carried out in Australia where states which are relatively homogeneous in respect of population composition, culture, and general regulations regarding the ownership and carrying of firearms, pursue quite different policies in regard to police armament. It was found that rates of killing and wounding by and of the police appear to be highest in those states which follow the American policy in relation to arming the police and lowest in those states which maintain the English tradition of a disarmed police force. Moreover, al though there is a direct correlation between the rate of killing police and the general homicide rate, the risk of being killed for policemen, which is always higher than for ordinary citizens, is relatively much higher in states which have adopted the American police firearms policy.

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