Hoe goed is dit boek nu echt?

Wat gebeurt er als professionele politie ‘use of force’ onderzoekers een zeer populair politie training boek recenseren (1)? Blijft een van mijn favoriete boeken overeind? Een boek dat gepubliceerd wordt bij een gerenommeerde uitgever en met als doel wetenschap en praktijk (met name ook politie trainers) te verbinden. Met enige spanning las ik de review en hier de bevindingen. Waarmee ik het tot nader inzicht ook wel eens ben. Jij? Ik neem ze direct over uit de review. Geloof mij niet en lees de review en het boek zelf ook. 

Hier gaan we, alle quotes komen uit de review:

“While Murray and Haberfeld provide valuable insights into the development of police training, there are numerous aspects of the book that significantly detract from its potential impact.”

As an example, the book lacks a strong organizational framework which detracts from the book’s clarity.

Also, the book appears at times to contradict itself. For example, there is an overwhelming emphasis in some parts of the book on the need to train police officers to be ready to take life at a moment’s notice; indeed, the stated purpose of use of force training is to instill in officers the ability to kill without hesitation. However, the authors also say training shouldn’t solely focus on the use of lethal force, they acknowledge that the use of lethal force is rare, and they actually caution against training programs that create a reliance on deadly force

Problematically, the book at times reflects a warrior mindset which has not only received significant criticism, but also seems particularly misplaced given the ongoing discussions regarding police reform.

Relatedly, the book inappropriately refers to members of the public as “Bad Guys,” creating a dehumanizing dichotomy that reinforces the “us vs. them” mentality and fails to recognize the complex reasons that people come into contact with the police (e.g., due to their mental illness).  

Furthermore, the research that is relied on is often quite dated, extremely limited in scope, and does not reflect the work of key scholars in this area.

As an example, despite there being a considerable amount of research on the relationship between stress and performance within policing, the section on the impacts of stress does not incorporate this material.  


The lack of relevant research, the issues with clarity, and the glorification of developing ‘hard’ officers call into question whether the book adheres to the objectives of the SpringerBriefs series—to produce high-impact work by presenting cutting edge research.

Not only is relevant cutting edge research not incorporated into the book but adhering to many of the approaches advocated for in the book will likely move policing further away from the expectations of the public.

Overall, Use of force training in law enforcement: a reality based approach provides some valuable insights into the development of police training. Saying this, the book in its current form falls short of fulfilling its intention of providing timely guidance to police trainers and curriculum designers.


1.      Tori Semple, Bryce Jenkins, Use of Force Training in Law Enforcement: A Reality Based Approach, Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 2022;, paac077, https://doi.org/10.1093/police/paac077