Reducing Threats and Violence Towards Law Enforcement Through Systematic Analysis of Conflict Behaviors (Hans Myhre Sunde)

What goes on before the conflict goes off? This project's aim is to understand the interpersonal dynamics of conflict when citizens meet law enforcement agents in daily-life encounters. 

The project's main goal is to:

  1. Identify what types of situations, and citizen behavioral patterns law enforcement agents ought to be especially aware of, because they hold a heightened risk of violent escalation.
  2. Identify what behavioral patterns law enforcement use that both heighten and lower the risk of violent escalation.
  3. Based on the findings, develop a “first aid tool kit” of conflict resolution tool, with concrete examples of appropriate and inappropriate conflict resolution behavior

By using a mixed-methods design, the project analyzes qualitative interviews and CCTV video recordings of real-life law enforcement-citizen encounters. Taking a micro-sociological approach, the project intends to identify the situational and interpersonal factors of when conflicts escalate to violence - and when they do not. Then, the project will identify and discuss how certain behaviors can prevent violent escalation. 

Part one of the project consist of a systematic video observation and analysis of a sample of 78 real-life encounters between citizens and law enforcers in Amsterdam. We have developed a qualitatively driven ethogram that is being used for the systematic analysis. Here, we take on the concept of 'demeanor', the 'demeanor effect' and the 'demeanor hypothesis' from the field of police-citizen encounters. 

Part two of the project consist of a number of semi-structured qualitative interviews with police officers. This part starts in 2022.

Part three of the project consist of a qualitative, sequence analysis of a sub-sample of conflictual encounters. This part starts in 2022. 

The project is conducted by Hans Myhre Sunde, supervised by Don Weenink and P.I. Marie Rosenkrantz Lindegaard