International Developments in
mergency Communications, Police Stress
and Crisis Management


Arthur A. Jones, J.D., Dr.jur.
Robin Wiseman, J.D., Dr.h.c.

International Human Rights Law and Policy
c/o Los Angeles Community Policing
email to:

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is part two of a three part series, first presented in August 2003. Look for the other installments, part 1 and part 2.

August 12, 2003

Prepared for:

..........Performance Investment Fund (PIF) Advisory Committee,
..........Emergency Communications & Information Technology Project
..........County of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department
..........Leroy D. Baca, Sheriff
..........Dr. Richard Weintraub, Director, Professional Development Bureau

Interim Research Notes


International Developments in
Emergency Communications, Police Stress
and Crisis Management


(part 3 of 3)

Comparative European and Other International Developments

"Case studies essentially are self-contained explorations and,
as such, have limited usefulness in the quest for generalizations.
By and large, such generalizations are achieved only through
comparative studies. This is particularly true when attempting to
establish common denominators on an enormous scale."

---- Professor Vahakn N. Dadrian


In our interim report to the P.I.F. Committee dated August 12, 2003, we devoted the first section to the Beck Studies on police morale and performance that took place in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and Canada between 1991 and the present.

Since that date, we have been in contact with the State of Lower Saxony (Land Niedersachsen), Germany, which has been conducting a parallel, continuing study on the same topic which it began with questionnaires in 1991. The final stages of the survey, together with recommendations for performance improvement, were completed in December 2003. (Polizei im Wandel: eine empirische Analyse zur Arbeitssituation von Polizeibeamten in Niedersachsen, Dept. of Public Affairs and Safety of the State of Lower Saxony, 2003).

The Lower Saxony studies, limited to a non-English speaking grouping of police forces, provide a useful contrast to the Beck materials, which we forwarded to the Landespolizei in Hannover. Lower Saxony is Germany's second-largest state geographically, and has a population of just under ten million, thus making it comparable in that respect to Los Angeles County.

The impetus for expanding and extending their surveys was provided by two main phenomena:

1. Between 1990 and the present, all crimes in Germany rose by 20%. Much of the increase was caused by a flood of immigration, primarily from former soviet satellite countries in Eastern Europe, Russia and the Middle East, causing an urban concentration of over five million mostly unassimilated and underemployed non-German speakers arriving in Germany. Police staffs and budgets have been severely strained, as the new and varied tasks are extremely time-consuming and have had negative effects on police morale, job satisfaction and performance.

2. German police and other first responders, at Federal, State and local levels, are in the midst of a thorough reappraisal of their role in the War on Terrorism and in society in general. As a result, crisis symptoms are more prominent and frequent among police forces. They include sexual harassment, perceptions of corruption and ethical lapses, and a dramatic increase in off-duty or secondary employment. All of these factors tend to reduce police concentration and performance, according to the Lower Saxony study results.

Thus, the recently completed studies focused on police "burnout", reflected in reduced job satisfaction, low morale, and rampant moonlighting. (Prof. Dr. Ohlemacher, Thomas, Dipl. Psych. C. Bosold and A. Mensching, Hannover 2003).

Similar to the Beck studies, the Lower Saxony researchers considered a broad variety of questionnaire responses, and then added an innovative twist that bears consideration: They interviewed hundreds of civilians, including merchants and innkeepers (it should be remembered that, in Germany, the Gasthaus or combination bar, restaurant and often B & B, enjoys a far more respectable social position than its U.S. counterpart, and serves as a community focal point and meeting place).

The shopkeepers and Gasthaus operators provided a clear correlation between police secondary or off-duty employment and lowered performance, dilution of confidence in the neighborhood, suspicions of corruption and reduced respect for police in general.

The Lower Saxony research group is now planning to expand their team and the scope of their studies. In 2004, the research will be both quantitative (questionnaires) and qualitative (discussion groups and intensive interviews). They will treat policing as comprising four divisions: Custodial, patrol, investigations and administration. Keeping separate data will enable them to pinpoint more individualized problem areas and to respond more flexibly.

Lower Saxony has already produced a set of recommendations for improving mutual understanding, self-esteem, job satisfaction, morale, and working conditions among its police forces. We will abstract some of the more promising ideas and solutions for your consideration in February and March.


In mid-November 2003, the German Cabinet created a new Federal Department of Civil Safety and Catastrophic Aid. It is designed to combine all primary first responders with most agencies involved in anti-terrorist efforts.

It restructures somewhat the existing network of federal and state agencies, although basic jurisdiction and authority still rest with the states in Germany's federal system. The new department will have six divisions:

Crisis Management
Civil Safety and Disaster Prevention
Critical Infrastructure
Catastrophe Medical Response
Civil Safety Research and Development
Civil Safety Education.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Look for other installments, part 1 and part 2:

I. Organizational Stress and Police Performance: The Beck Studies and their Progeny

II. Recent European Bilateral and Multilateral Treaties on Cross-Border Cooperation in Police Pursuits: Links to Emergency Communication

Respectfully submitted,

Arthur A. Jones, J.D., Dr.jur. Robin Wiseman, J.D., Dr.h.c. 


--- Arthur A. Jones and Robin Wiseman are international human rights lawyers with legal educations in the United States and Europe. They are consultants and authors on international policing, social policy and human rights, and regular contributors to the forum here at LA Community Policing.

For more of their work, please see the
Think Tank.

For additional information or a complete list of references, contact:

Dr. Arthur Jones