Routinely Armed and Unarmed Police: What Can the Scandinavian Experience Teach Us?
Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice
Apr 15, 2014

“This article introduces the author’s recent study on the ‘strategic impact’ of routinely arming the New Zealand Police and discusses how two significant research findings are consistent with published theory. First, the utility of taking a binary, black, and white approach when analysing the ‘routinely armed versus routinely unarmed’ debate, is limited in terms of considering police officer behaviour. This is because police departmental policies shape police officer risk-taking and behaviour to a considerable degree. Second, despite departmental policies, the routine armament of a routinely unarmed police force, say for health and safety reasons, may be counterproductive; such a change exposes police officers to increased risks. Both findings come from an analysis of Scandinavian police forces. The author’s study was primarily concerned with the police forces of Norway and Sweden; however, comparisons were made, at times, within a wider Scandinavian context.”

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