A Legal and Forensic Medicine Approach to Police Physical Intervention Techniques in High-Risk Situations
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Police forceOperational tactical proceduresPhysical threatsArrest and self-defense skillsPrevention of leaf injuriesLegal and forensic medicine
Vera-Jiménez, J. C., Lorente, J. A., González-Herrera, L., Álvarez, J. A., Ferreiro-González, M., & Ayuso, J. (2020). A legal and forensic medicine approach to police physical intervention techniques in high-risk situations. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(8), 2809. [doi:10.3390/ijerph17082809]
Background: The physical intervention techniques (PITs) typically used by the police in troublesome situations are examined in terms of injuring potential depending on whether they target a body zone of high, medium or low vulnerability. Based on legal and forensic considerations, and principles of congruence, opportunity and proportionality, a need exists to favor opponent locking and arrest techniques targeting non-vulnerable zones to minimize the risk of severe damage. Methods: A search of the training manuals for the different kind of law of enforcement officers was carried out. Revision of injuries was available from electronic databases of academic o medical journals. Results: Three different locking and arrest PITs based on operational tactical procedures (OTP) that avoid zones of high or medium vulnerability are proposed. The new techniques use blocking, diverting and grabbing of the upper and lower limbs, followed by dislocation and locking of the same targets. Conclusions: The damaging potential of such PITs was assessed in terms of anatomical region and most were found to have a high risk of severe damage. The alternative PITs proposed here, which rely on OTP, improve in legal and forensic medical terms on existing choices and dramatically reduce the risk of injuring arrestees.