The Skills Needed in Effective Policing

Write about the skills needed in effective policing.


The Skills Needed in Effective Policing




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The Skills Needed in Effective Policing

Police officers should have the necessary skills to handle the worse-case scenarios. According to Blumberg et al. (2019), “according to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, police officers’ use of force rate is just 3.61 per 10,000 service calls, and in those rare situations in which an officer is called upon to use force, these learned skills become critical” (p.1). Blumberg et al. (2019) also stated that “it can be argued that the job has never been more demanding or, for that matter, more stressful and there is little dispute that contemporary policing is extremely complex and challenging; Because of this, law enforcement agencies are obligated to hire, train, and retain a cadre of the most psychologically fit police officers” (p.1). The police should carry tools to protect themselves in their belts and bodies, such as tasers and body worn cameras. They also should use more tools in their patrol cars, for example, laptops and be ready to face public scrutiny of how they carry out their duties.  The main areas of training for the police academies fall into the following categories: self-defense, firearms, self-improvement (89 h), mental illness (10 h), legal education (86 h), use of force (168 h), and operations (average hours of training = 213 h). “In the category of self-improvement, more than half of the curriculum focuses on health and fitness and the remainder of self-improvement training consists primarily of ethics and integrity, communications, professionalism, and stress prevention/management” (Blumberg et al., 2019 p.2). The police training institutions prepare new hires of how to act in the police force.  Effective policing requires a combination of cognitive and emotional skills.

What Skills Are Needed in Effective Policing?

Cognitive Skills

The police need cognitive skills because the police work is mentally challenging. The cognitive skills include the ability to pay attention, the ability to process visuals, having reasoning abilities and having good memory. The police academies should improve their cognitive skills by telling the officers exactly what they need done to increase opportunities for the recruits to make better decisions. According to Nota et al. (2019), “the practices surrounding police training of complex motor skills, including the use of force, varies greatly around the world, and even over the course of an officer’s career” (p.1). Recruits should be given time in break-out groups to argue pros and cons of various actions, without Training Officers’ presence or involvement. “After presenting the small groups’ ideas to the whole group, the recruits should be guided to examine the reasoning behind their decisions; This should also be done after each practical exercise where recruits are required to discuss why they chose to do what they did” (Blumberg et al., 2019, p.5). By the police hearing the rationale of their fellow colleagues, they will develop better critical thinking skills, improve their self-control, and make better decisions. “When the academy shifts to an adult learning model, recruits are confronted through scenarios associated with various learning domains with a requirement to be more flexible, to think on their feet, and to demonstrate conscientious work behavior” (Blumberg et al., 2019 p.5). Punishment in the police force is replaced with logical consequences, and an example of this is when an officer is late or forgets their equipment, not met with them having to do push-ups or write a report. Blumberg et al. (2019) also stated that “the traditional academy model does not teach recruits the importance of dependability and flexibility; it just reinforces compliance and therefore, to build these cognitive skills, academies should mirror the supervision and discipline model of the agencies where their recruits will soon work” (p.5). Thus, cognitive skills are needed in effective policing as they enable the police to easily perform their duties.

Emotional Skills

The police need emotional skills because the police work is mentally challenging. The types of emotional skills needed by the police include emotional regulation, honesty, managing anxiety and avoiding mistakes. The police officer’s emotions influence how they perform their duties and how long they will perform them. According to Romosiou et al. (2019), “police officers have been described as emotional workers, in the sense that they are exposed to emotionally demanding interpersonal interactions daily and as a part of their job they have to put psychological efforts in order to deal with emotions in an organizationally desired manner” (p.2). According to Blumberg et al. (2019) “a contributing factor, beyond the routine exposure to trauma and human suffering, was found to be the emotional exhaustion officers experience from constantly showing the public emotions other than what they feel, e.g., remaining calmly stoic when disgusted, or smiling when angry” (p. 5). When police officer is anxious, they have a stronger expectation of potential threat, which will make them to use a gun faster and make mistakes. Emotional skills can encourage the extent to which the police officers effectively manage their emotions while on duty. According to Blumberg et al. (2019), “one such skill, according to the Peace Officer Psychological Screening Manual, is Emotional Regulation/Stress Tolerance, which: “involves the ability to maintain composure and stay in control, particularly during time-critical emergency events and other stressful situations” (p.5). The police officers can be taught to improve how they handle their emotions. Thus, the police officers should know how to recognize their emotions and how they impact their duties.


In conclusion, The police need cognitive and emotional skills in order to effectively carry out their duties. Cognitive skills are extremely important to the police as they enable them read, think, remember, pay attention, reason, and learn. Emotional skills influence how the police Carr out their duties. Emotional skills determine how effectively the police officers adjust to their work environment. The development of these skills is important for the police officers is essential for their well-being to enable them have the ability adapt to their work stressful work environment and perform effectively.





Blumberg, D. M., Schlosser, M. D., Papazoglou, K., Creighton, S., & Kaye, C. C. (2019). New directions in police academy training: A call to action. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(24), 4941.

Di Nota, P. M., & Huhta, J. M. (2019). Complex motor learning and police training: Applied, cognitive, and clinical perspectives. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1797.

Romosiou, V., Brouzos, A., & Vassilopoulos, S. P. (2019). An integrative group intervention for the enhancement of emotional intelligence, empathy, resilience and stress management among police officers. Police Practice and Research, 20(5), 460-478.

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