The limits of pain compliance

Click image or click here to watch video

Pain compliance is quite literally the use of pain as a method to achieve compliance, and discourage resistance and aggressive behaviour. It’s an integral part of any police use of force continuum policies. However, its effectiveness varies greatly depending on the individual’s pain tolerance, mental state, and the intensity of the situation.

Individuals under the influence of drugs, experiencing a mental health crisis, or in a state of excited delirium might not respond as expected to pain compliance techniques. Adrenaline and other physiological factors can significantly diminish pain perception, leading to less effectiveness in gaining compliance and potentially escalating the situation to more extreme uses of force.

Pain compliance is not a substitute for physical control. It should not be seen as a primary strategy but rather a part of a broader set of tactics aimed at safely controlling and detaining individuals.

It’s crucial for law enforcement to have a clear objective when employing pain compliance and to be prepared to shift tactics if it’s not effective.

Continuous application of pain without gaining control can be perceived as excessive and lead to public scrutiny and distrust. In extreme cases, it can lead to serious injury and death, particularly when the subject is of poor health.

Training, skills, fitness and teamwork are the only answer.

The public’s perception of pain compliance is increasingly critical. With widespread access to information and a growing emphasis on police accountability, the use of force is under more scrutiny than ever. Law enforcement agencies need to ensure their personnel are well-trained in a variety of techniques, understand the implications of their actions, and are capable of making judicious decisions in the heat of the moment.

In conclusion, while pain compliance can be a part of law enforcement’s toolkit, it should be used judiciously and in conjunction with other tactics aimed at safely and efficiently resolving confrontations. Continuous training, public engagement, and a commitment to ethical practices are vital in maintaining public trust and ensuring the safety of both officers and those they serve.

Cop stabbed in back, partner slow to respond

OC spray and Taser were used to take the man into custody following this. The police officer suffered a 6cm wound and survived.

An ambush gives the attacker initiative. They have had time to mentally and tactically prepare for the situation. The defender may not be psychologically prepared or have any kind of plan, and is at minimum a few seconds behind the attacker to even understand what is happening.

The cop who stood there for a few seconds either did not understand what was happening or was in a kind of denial for some time. This is not a conscious decision made while observing the situation. It is likely a result of inadequate training.

OC spray, Taser, Baton ineffective against drug affected man

Reluctant to go hands-on, police use their baton, then Taser which fails multiple times. One police officer attempts to knock over the man by rushing at him from behind but ultimately loses control as he stands up. The Taser is used again, then OC spray before the Taser is used once more before the man is taken into custody.

All of the tools police used in this instance depend on pain compliance, apart from the Taser which incapacitates for mere seconds IF the two prongs make contact correctly and in the correct positions on the body. Physical control with grappling techniques may have resulted in a faster and safer arrest, however these officers either lack those skills or were not willing to go hands-on.

Cops fail to control man who is passively resisting

These cops first attempt to control the man by grabbing the wrists, just as they have been trained to do. The suspect passively resists, denying control. The cop then moves to the schoolyard headlock which is similarly effective. OC spray is then used which also apparently does not work. A second man begins to intervene. Video ends with no resolution.

Police restrain mentally ill man, use baton and OC spray without justification

Police in the state of Victoria, Australia use pain compliance to handcuff a mentally ill pensioner.

The police officers used a baton and OC spray to achieve pain compliance as they were unable to handcuff the man by physically controlling him, perhaps due to lack of skill and/or malicious intent. Once he is handcuffed, a garden hose is used to decontaminate the man of OC spray, and this action has been interpreted by the public simply as further means to humiliate the man. An officer pulling out his personal phone to film the event only makes it look worse.