Dr Ross Hendy1
1Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Officers from the Norwegian police were routinely armed with firearms from July 2014 to February 2016 in response to a terrorist threat. This paper explores the experiences of a sample of officers (N=16) who were routinely armed during this period. The research took a mixed-methods approach using semi-structured interviews and two psychometric tests one month before the policy was rescinded. Two key themes emerged. First, officers believed that being routinely armed was advantageous for routine police activities. Officers described that tactical planning had improved as it was no longer necessary to wait for permission to respond with a firearm. The associated tactical freedom triggered an increase in self-belief in measures of effectiveness and efficiency. Second, officers believed that although officers had observed some behavioural changes when interacting with citizens, over time, citizens became acclimatised to the presence of firearms. These findings provide new empirical evidence relevant to the debate surrounding the implications of permanently arming a routinely unarmed police force. Policy recommendations are discussed, and hypotheses are proposed for future research.
Ross Hendy is a Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social Sciences. His research focuses on the development of theoretical and applied perspectives of police and policing, such as practitioner behaviour and the effectiveness of police intervention. He is developing a new theoretical approach to explain police-citizen interaction, which focuses on explore officer decision-making and their use of control, coercion and the use of force. As a former sergeant with New Zealand Police, he has worked with researchers to enhance their understanding of the police environment, the limitations of police administrative data, and providing advice about real-world issues that criminal justice practitioners and policy-makers face in the criminological and criminal justice environment.