The limits of pain compliance

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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.

Police Taser man who took hostages on tram

Police in Australia recently stopped a man who had taken the passengers of a tram hostage while armed with a knife.

When police arrived it started with a contain and negotiate strategy, until the offender stated that he was going to kill people on the tram and grabbed a woman, pointing the knife at her.

With the imminent threat to the life of the woman, Members of the Critical Incident Response Team entered the train armed with a Taser and rifle, a combination of lethal and less-lethal force which is an important detail here.

The first discharge of the Taser did fail, probably due to the thick jacket the offender was wearing.

Luckily this Taser model has two cartidges that can be fired in succession, and the second shot was effective at achieving neuromuscular incapacitation.

Being in a confined space like this with someone who is armed with a knife is extremely dangerous, watch my video about police in knife vs gun scenarios to understand more.

If the Taser failed as they often do, using the rifle was extremely risky, as there were multiple members of the public behind the offender and any shots fired can miss, pass through the offender or ricochet and potentionally harm or kill the victims. Going hands-on could potentially result in the police getting killed themselves.

They were faced with an extremely dynamic and unpredictable scenario with no perfect options and potential negative outcomes no matter what they did.

This could have gone horribly wrong but it didn’t, well done to these police who managed to achieve the best outcome.

Police use Taser 15 times on man suffering mental health episode / drug psychosis

Roberto Laudisio Curti (died 18 March 2012), known as Beto Laudisio, was a 21-year-old man from São Paulo, Brazil. He died on 18 March 2012 after being pursued, tackled, tasered, sprayed with OC spray, and physically compressed under the weight of multiple police officers of the New South Wales Police Force in Sydney, Australia.