Predicting suspect resistance in arrests using a multivariate approach

Dr Kelly Hine1, Dr Jason Payne1

1Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, Australia

The use of force by police is one of the most critical issues in policing today.  One of the most consistent findings within the use-of-force research is that the best predictor of police use of force is that the suspect is resisting arrest.  Yet, suspect resistance itself is relatively rarely research.  This study takes a multivariate approach to examine suspect resistance in arrests.  The study drew from the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) programme – Australia’s longest running cross-sectional survey of offenders at the gateway to the criminal justice system.  It gathers data from approximately 1700 detainees annually about the detainee’s official criminal charges and self-reported prior offending; recent and historical drug use; mental health and demographic characteristics.  Data was analyzed using multivariate logistic regression to identify factors that predict suspect resistance in terms of whether the suspect was charged with resisting arrest or no resisting arrest charge.  Results are discussed in terms of both risk factors and protective factors in determining whether a suspect will resist arrest.


Dr Kelly Hine is a policing scholar in the ANU Centre of Social Research and Methods (CSRM) at the Australian National University (ANU).  Her research centres on police-citizen interactions including suspect resistance, the use of force by police, and officer injuries.  In particular, Dr Hine examines the decision-making processes during encounters that are dynamic and rapidly unfolding.  In addition to her research interest in front-line policing, her areas of expertise include police misconduct and police integrity.

Australia & New Zealand Society of Evidence Based Policing

The Australia & New Zealand Society of Evidence Based Policing (ANZSEBP) was formed in April 2013 in Brisbane, Australia. The ANZSEBP is a police practitioner-led Society. The mission of the ANZSEBP is to develop, disseminate and advocate for police to use scientific research (“the evidence”) to guide best practice in all aspects of policing. The ANZSEBP Chairperson serves on the Executive Board of the British Society of Evidence Based Policing, ensuring that the ANZSEBP works cooperatively with an international group of police to advance evidence based policing.

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