The psychology behind police techniques: "DO IT NOW!"

There is a very specific way felony stops are trained to be conducted. It’s nothing like you are saying.

It’s what you see all the time on bodycam footage.

What you see on bodycam footage is usually not a felony stop. It’s usually something much more fluid and dangerous.

Ok. And this thread is not “what happens at a felony stop”, is it.

The uninitiated in a stressful situation like that tend to freeze. The troopers’ job at that moment is to get them out, away from the guns and the grenades. Once they’re in the street and safe there’s time for reassurances.

It appears that is what is being described in the OP so yes it is.

The OP is quite clearly about police tactics in shouting instructions at people.

They weren’t ordering coffee. It was during a felony stop.

Bear in mind that the problem they were facing was the risk that there were terrorists hiding among the evacuating hostages - and there were, in fact. So at that stage they were still primarily concerned about physical safety rather than comfort and reassurance. It went beyond intimidating words - all the hostages were zip-tied after they were taken outside until they could be positively identified.

Two of the terrorists were hiding amongst the hostages; one of them produced a hand grenade when he was identified. An SAS soldier, who was unable to shoot for concern of hitting a hostage or another soldier, pushed the grenade-wielding terrorist to the bottom of the stairs, where two other soldiers shot him dead.

The rescued hostages and the remaining terrorist, who was still concealed amongst them, were taken into the embassy’s back garden and restrained on the ground while they were identified. The last terrorist was identified by Sim Harris and led away by the SAS.

Iranian Embassy siege - Wikipedia

I recall also that there were rumors that unofficial orders had been passed down (presumably originating from Thatcher) that the best outcome would be if no terrorists survived, and that the last terrorist may owe his life to the fact that he was outside and TV cameras were present by the time he was identified among the hostages and led away.

I’ve often thought about the command to “stop resisting!” when there are three grown men on top of you, one with his knee in your back and another smashing your head into the pavement.

Placing myself in that situation mentally, I cannot imagine what not resisting would look like.

Or even if it would be possible.


Meh, I’ve seen plenty of bodycam footage where cops are shouting “stop resisting” because people are continuing to, you know, resist. Even if it looks like a cop has the person under physical control, you can tell if a person underneath you is still tensed up and aggressive. And it makes sense to me that they shout it, because if you’re dealing with a drunk or enraged person, it’s a reminder that the LEO has a legal right to use physical force, that resisting has serious consequences, that they are not just engaged in a brawl with a random person.

No doubt bad cops have sometimes shouted it to try to set a false narrative for the bodycam footage, but that doesn’t imply that there are not good reasons for good cops to do it. Conversely, I’ve seen plenty of footage at people screaming at cops that they are not resisting when they clearly are.

I’m not sure I could NOT be tensed up under those circumstances.


Sensible advice, really. Police aren’t all bad.


Yelling at people escalates the situation. Maybe the show of force often works, but it always makes the situation violent, and my guess is that it often backfires, and leads to people freaking out and doing things that they might not have done if they hadn’t been verbally assaulted.

“Feel free to put your hands in your pockets to keep them warm.”

The OP is quite clearly asking about a felony stop. They even said “This did not appear to be a traffic stop but some sort of coordinated apprehension.”

The example in the body of the OP may be a felony stop. The thread is about the psychology behind police communication techniques that involve shouting aggressively at suspects, and that doesn’t happen only in felony stops.

While it doesn’t only happen in felony stops, that’s likely the only scenario where the police begin their interaction with aggressive commands.

In other encounters, police almost invariably begin their interaction in a conversational tone, and only when things get escalated do police then resort to issuing commands.

Which, I believe, brings us back to the factual answer behind the psychology of police interactions.

As for why felony stops don’t begin in a more friendly manner.

Police are reacting to violent situations, where they are already past the point of discussion.

Either practically none of the myriad videos on the internet are from felony stops, or else it’s very common for cops to ignore the training that you say they have.

I can’t imagine not being tensed up if I were down on the ground with cops on top of me, no matter how hard I was trying to be non-resisting.

Hell, it’s hard not to be a little tensed up if I’m sitting in the car being questioned, having been pulled over for something along the lines of a busted tail light. And I’m an old white woman.