Wired.com Provides Insightful reporting on why Police use Pepper Spray

To many, the answer to the question: why do police use pepper spray? is a self-evident one.

If you reflexively say: “because it beats the alternative,” you should definitely continue to the full article. It seems that the alternative to the situations in which police deploy Pepper spray or other non-lethal means are often situations where the police would have traditionally talked the situation out:


Two studies conducted in the Netherlands showed that pepper spray was useful for subduing violent subjects, but actually caused non-violent situations to escalate into violence — and about 10 percent of all uses were carried out against non-threatening subjects.

The fact is that there is more studying to be done, but one of the interesting observations comes from a study of the psychology of policing:

“In their culture, it’s important to have authority. Most policemen will say that the only thing they have to protect them is authority, and they’re very sensitive to people who do not respect their authority,” he said. “When an officer gets on the scene, the number-one thing they’re supposed to do is take control” — and that dynamic is heightened when they know that other police will judge their actions.

“If you’re sitting there, and I give you a lawful order to move, and you lock arms, is that an act of resistance? I don’t see it that way. Some people do,” said Alpert.

So what you are telling me is that you percieve my right to freedom of expression as a direct assault on your ego and sense of self-worth? Doubly so if I do it in front of your police pals? It seems to me that there is also a need to consider the psychological profiles of those who are hired as police officers as part of the problem.

Why do Police Officers Use Pepper Spray? | Wired Science | Wired.com



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