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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 201991 Find in a Library
Title: Issues in Civil Litigation Against Police
Author(s): Nadia Boni
Corporate Author: Australasian Centre for Policing Research
Date Published: November 2002
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Australasian Centre for Policing Research
Marden South Australia 5070, Australia
Sale Source: Australasian Centre for Policing Research
PO Box 370
Marden South Australia 5070,
Format: News/Media
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This paper presents information currently available on the frequency and nature of civil claims or actions against police in Australasia, and this information is compared with similar data from the United States and the United Kingdom.
Abstract: For the purposes of this paper, civil litigation against police refers to "any claims or actions instigated by citizens against police, police administrators, or police departments." The study found that it was difficult to measure precisely the nature and extent of victim actions against police in Australasia due to problems regarding the accuracy and reliability of data and the inconsistency of data collected from various jurisdictions. This was also the case for the United States and the United Kingdom. Overall, there were significant indications that civil litigation against police has increased significantly in Australasia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Some types of incidents were apparently more likely to give rise to civil litigation against police. These incidents were the use of firearms; motor vehicle pursuits; arrest, search, and seizure; responses to citizen complaints or requests for protection; rendering first aid; domestic assault; citizen endangerment; sexual harassment; training; and dispatch, monitoring, and control of police activities. The organizational consequences of civil suits include financial costs, even if suits are successfully defended, and deterioration in agency morale. On the other hand, some positive influences of civil litigation can be increased police accountability and reforms in police training and procedure. Civil litigation can also have consequences for the individual officers involved, including financial costs, psychological stress, and a reluctance to perform policing tasks that carry a high risk for civil liability. Police agencies can institute a number of policies and procedures that can manage and minimize the risk of civil litigation. A risk management plan should include, but not be limited to, appropriate personnel selection procedures, including psychological screening; training, education, and supervision; legislative options; and research and data collection. 2 tables and 25 references
Main Term(s): Complaints against police
Index Term(s): Asia; Australia; Civil liability; Civil litigation; Comparative analysis; Foreign police; Police management; Risk management; United Kingdom (UK); United States of America
Note: Australasian Centre for Policing Research No. 5, 11/2002
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