Force Science on Police Training

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Pleased to see the Force Science Research Center unveiling new research on police training. Looks like it will be addressing issues well known in the community, and in LE training circles, but not within the halls of training academies and agency mat rooms – that someone with basic, realistic jujitsu skills would have a far easier time managing some of the embarrassing or controversial force encounters in which we see officers engaged.

Of course there is much more to police work: tactics, law, liability, communication and threat assessment skills, and weapons capability, which it looks like FSI will be getting into as well.

Can we hope for change? For real, meaningful transformation in how training is conceived, delivered, and applied in the field, over simply changing policies and adopting new slogans and buzz words?

Dunno – just saw this quote from this article in USA Today. It’s sort of a step in the right direction (emphasis mine):

“Some police departments are also taking a new look at what they call “hands on” force. Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore said his department is considering whether to institute refresher training in grappling techniques used to subdue suspects. At present, recruits get the training, but it was discontinued long ago for veteran officers because it was causing too many injuries among them.

“Grappling is not the only answer, but it is one more tool,” officers can use to prevent escalation to deadly force, Moore said in an interview. “It is only going to improve their readiness.”

Readiness, of course, must be continued throughout an officer’s career, and not just as a recruit. Training like that is one of the glaring problems in modern LE training today. Taught properly, it will improve even veteran officers’ readiness and not result in too many injuries. Properly taught is the key, which exposes another issue in police training: the qualifications of its instructors.


  1. I am a front line police officer with 18 years service in New Zealand, I have also been training in martial arts over 25 years.

    It is interesting that although our policing environment is different to the USA in ways it is still very similar in others and we face the same training issues. We are not routinely armed but have access to firearms (in our vehicles) and are arming ourselves at some point most shifts. We have little to none in the way of hand to hand or grappling training with the company line being that we back off and use our tools (pepper spray, taser). As any law enforcement officer will know this is not always possible and if I am in a physical altercation there is no way i’m going backwards and giving them an opportunity.

    I think the lack of this sort of training is partly financial, partly political. It is great a shame as we have some very experienced, capable martial artists within our ranks whose knowledge and skills could be utilised to give staff some skills to keep themselves safe.

    I will be reading the force institute studies with keen interest. Thanks for sharing them on here.


    • Karl thanks for reading.

      Here in the States we sometimes think that in countries where police aren’t armed with firearms as a general rule that the level of hand to hand training would be higher – sad to hear it isn’t so.


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