Lawyer Monthly - February 2022

individuals would deal with an incident and those involved. Are there some areas of decision-makingwhere the Model does not offer entirely sufficient guidance? The model itself is designed for any incident where action is taken to deal with an event. As with all models, it provides limited guidance. The actions of those involved will always be different, as we all deal with events in our own way due to numerous factors – some of which the National Decision Model highlights, but a lot of which it does not. What common tensions arise when use-of-force laws and theNational DecisionModel are applied in a real-world setting? Some of the most common tensions when any use of force is questioned are those of a person’s actions. We are all different and, as discussed earlier, will all deal with an event in our own way. A lot of this is due to our personal perceptions based around the individuals we are dealing with. These are commonly known as impact factors. To a certain extent, they will dictate how we will respond and act, working at the same time are our own personal experiences which shape us as individuals. There is also the “chemical cocktail” which the body uses when we are under a perceived threat or are in danger; this cannot be controlled and is commonly referred to as the “fight or flight” effect. These responses are the real-world actions of someone dealing with an event. What are impact factors, and howdo they affect a person’s decision-making during a confrontation? Impact factors affect everyone who is dealing with an event. The National Decision Model shows several of these impact factors, but there are many more. These factors influence how we as individuals weigh up our own options when dealing with a traumatic event and revolves around both what we see and our own psychology. These together will always affect how we deal with individuals. Some common impact factors include drink and drugs, weapons, numbers, gender, environmental factors, age and skill level (if known). There are many others. All of these will affect a person’s decision-making ability. Howare important facts about an incident sometimes omitted in police reports, and howcan this affect a case? Through years of training and providing advice to countless recruits and serving officers, I would always discuss the way in which witness statements, pocketbook 68 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM | FEB 2022 EXPERT WITNESS entries and reports were provided when dealing with the use of force. As discussed earlier, the National Decision Model would provide the means to write a chronological account of the incident. However, it is sometimes the case that whilst those involved in an incident can write a detailed account of their actions, it is just as important to complete a detailed account of what they considered but did not do. It is the omission of such details that usually takes up time to explain during any legal investigation and is the cause of many debates between prosecution and defence. Howdo you help legal counsel to understand all these nuances as an expert witness? My job as an expert witness is to advise counsel on all matters relating to the use of force – using the National Decision Model and all its components, looking at the event from a personal angle as their client may have seen it. From this, counsel can look at the legal side to form their defence or prosecution, depending on who is asking for my opinion. Are there any common misconceptions about the use of force that youwould like to dispel? Whilst the law would make us believe the use of force is straightforward, it is in fact nowhere near. Each use of force is not the same, so each time force is used by a different person, it must be judged while taking into account all the facts relating to their actions on an individual basis. Whilst the law would make us believe the use of force is straightforward, it is in fact nowhere near.

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