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Police officers involved in a manhunt of a mass murder: Memories and psychological responses.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2006 (English)In: Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, ISSN 1363-951X, Vol. 29, no 3, 524-540 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The focus of the present study was on police officers reactions to and memories of a manhunt after a shooting incident. Emotional impact and memories of these events are discussed in relation to time elapsed, support from co-workers, supervisors and professional debriefing. Design/methodology/approach: Eleven police officers responding to a mass shooting carried out by a young offender resulting in seven dead civilians were asked to describe the event 10 months after the event, five years after the event, and again nine years after the event. Findings: All police officers reported having vivid memories of the mass shooting incident, and visual and auditory memories of the event were best retained, although a decline was observed nine years after the incident. Regarding working through the traumatic experience, the police officers had not been offered professional help in connection with the mass shooting incident. Research limitations/implications: Due to the fact that police officers in the present study answered the survey anonymously, it was not possible to work out repeated measures statistics for these memories over time. Practical implications: Knowing that the psychological distress due to exposure to a traumatic event may be long lasting, it is crucial that police organizations consider time as an important factor in working through these experiences. Originality/value: Research on emotion and memory is highly relevant to the work of police officers and to the legal system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 29, no 3, 524-540 p.
Keyword [en]
police, memory, crime, stress, weapons
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-19422DOI: doi:10.1108/13639510610684746OAI: diva2:185946
Available from: 2007-11-12 Created: 2007-11-12 Last updated: 2011-01-11Bibliographically approved

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Christianson, Sven Å
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