Norwegian Police Use of Firearms: Critical Decision-Making in Stressful and Dynamic Contexts
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionHenriksen, S.V., Kruke,B.I. (2020) Norwegian Police Use of Firearms: Critical Decision-Making in Dynamic and Stressful Situations. Nordic Journal of Studies in Policing, 7(2), pp. 99-120
This is the first study of police decision-making regarding the use of firearms in the Norwegian context; its purpose is to study how police emergency response officers make decisions on the use of firearms, and to understand the contextual factors underlying these decisions. The data stem from document analysis based on developed categories, and interviews with police officers with experience in using firearms during their service, analysed by the Systematic Text Condensation method. The findings show that when handling armed confrontations, police officers draw upon recognition from previous experience and use a combination of analytical and intuitive decision-making, and that the basis for decisions to fire are situational cues to which the officers respond. Key contextual factors are the stressful conditions and the commonly short distances when shots are fired. A finding in this study is that Norwegian police officers frequently hold their fire until a threatening situation has materialized into an attack, and potentially find themselves in imminent danger as a result.