Very Few Fatal Police Shootings In Britain; Can U.S. Learn From That?


In a country where the vast majority of police officers patrol with batons and pepper spray, the elite cadre of British cops who are entrusted with guns almost never use them. Police in Britain have fatally shot two people in the past three years, reports the Washington Post. That's less than the average number of people shot and killed by police every day in the U.S. over the first five months of 2015. Experts say the way British bobbies are trained, commanded and vigorously scrutinized may offer U.S. police forces a useful blueprint for bringing down the rate of deadly violence and defusing some of the burning tension in U.S. cities.

Of course, British and U.S. police are patrolling different societies. The U.S. has some of the world's loosest gun laws and some of the highest rates of gun ownership. Phil Palmer, co-director of the Institute of Criminal Justice Research at Britain's University of Southampton, said, “Police in America are more aggressive, and I think that's because they have to be.” Cambridge University criminologist Lawrence Sherman says the U.S. should create a national college of policing, that states should set up police inspectors general to provide oversight and that local police forces should merge to achieve a minimum standard of 100 officers per department. All are steps, he said, that have worked in Britain.


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