Attention defocusing method in applied professional physical training of law enforcement officers: practical aspects

Фотографии: 

PhD A.V. Ermakov
PhD V.A. Damdintsurunov
V.S. Piyannikov
Russian State University of Physical Culture, Sport, Youth and Tourism (SCOLIPC), Moscow

Keywords: attention defocusing, close combat, applied professional physical training

Background

Professional physical training systems applied to train officers of law enforcement agencies and special services are generally designed to make them fit enough for big physical and mental stresses [1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8] unavoidable in their service. The skills developed during training are particularly important for the special service personnel engaged in regular close combat operations with the highest requirements to the physical and mental fitness of the combatants – in view of the direct and high risks for their life and health. It is a matter of common knowledge that the timely and right decision making ability is imperative for the close combat operations being efficient and successful [6, 7]. Unless a serviceman is capable of taking and executing a timely and correct decision, he/ she may never be qualified a professionally fit officer. The decision-making process in close combat situations is further complicated by the always extreme fighting conditions with a variety of inside/ outside distracting factors [6].

The outside factors may be multiple and broadly different in terms of their effects on the combatant, and may be classified as the general (like climatic conditions, day time etc.) and direct ones (of real combat situations that may need weapon to be used). The inside factors of impact on the officer’s behavior in the close combat situations may include, among other things, a variety of fears including:

– Fear of personal serious wound or death;

– Fear for the partners being seriously wounded or killed;

– Fear of the outside people being killed or seriously wounded; and

– Fear for the offender being killed or seriously wounded.

The distracting factors that may complicate the right decision being made in a timely manner are normally of negative effect on the following:

  • The officer’s ability to apprehend and sort out the necessary and sufficient incoming information to take the right decision on time;
  • The officer’s ability to adequately assess the incoming information; and
  • The officer’s ability to make a right decision based on the situation analysis.

The distracting factors in the highly-stressful situations may suppress the officer’s ability to sort out the incoming information and identify the key elements of importance for the right decision he/she needs to make. Such inability may be of negative effect on the professional service quality up and even lead to the most serious consequences. Therefore, the pressure-decision-making ability will be ranked among the most important qualities of the law enforcement service personnel. High pressure decision making ability makes it possible to step up the quality of the service operations in many aspects, including, for instance, the situations of firearms being suddenly used by offenders. In such a situation, the officer is required to:

– Instantly identify the gunmen in the group of people;

– Foresee the moment of attack; and

– Make the right decision to neutralize the attack. 

One of the ways of attaining good results in the above special training process is through the attention defocusing methodology offered by O.G. Bakhtiyarov [3] and adapted for the professional training of the law enforcement and special service officers.

Objective of the study was to provide scientific grounds for the applied attention defocusing methodology to support the professional training of the law enforcement and special service officers.

Methods and structure of the study. The adapted attention defocusing methodology was applied in the professional training of the Special Fast Response Squad (SFRS) officers within the frame of the standard special physical training practices. The attention defocusing practices were executed in the situations of high physical stresses designed to simulate the real fight situations. The principal practice was designed to simulate the situation when the officer is required to rapidly identify the gunmen in a group of civilians, trace the moment of attack and make a right decision. Six assistants were ranked standing two steps apart from one another with their hands behind the back, and with two of them (randomly chosen) being armed with Makarov shotguns. The subject officer was standing 10 meters with his back to the rank being incapable of getting any prior information on the potential attacker(s). Then, upon a command of the manager, the subject officer turned around to identify the gunmen and take decision to counter the attack. At the same moment the rank moved forward on the subject officer, each in the rank raising his hand as if going to aim at the officer. It was on the fifth step that they fully raised their arms as if aiming at the subject. The subject officer was required to identify the two gunmen as soon as possible and point to them. He must have pointed to them being fully confident in the identification, and no error was tolerated.

Study results and discussion. The gunmen identification process success was rated by the number of steps made by the rank before the subject officer pointed to the gunmen, starting from the first step upon the command. Given on Figure 1 hereunder are the outcome data of the tests.

 

Figure 1. Steps made by the attackers till the right decision was made by the officer

The principle practice (test) performance scores prior to and after the training course are given hereunder in Table 1.

Table 1. Special Fast Response Squad officers’ test scores prior to and after the training course

Officer’s number

Test scores prior to training course, steps

Test scores after training course, steps

01

4

3

02

5

2

03

4

2

04

3

2

05

4

3

06

5

2

07

5

2

08

4

3

09

4

1

10

5

4

11

4

1

12

5

3

S

11

7

Q (empirical)

18

 

The attacker identification speed was found to notably rise after the training course, with the difference found significant as verified by the Q-criterion of Rosenbaum as follows:

Calculation formula for Q(emp.) = S1+S2.

S1 = 11

S2 = 7

Q (emp.) = 1+7 =18

р ≤ 0.05 = 6

Q (crit.)

 

р ≤ 0.01 = 9

 

       

As seen from the above, Q (emp.) › Q (crit.). This is the reason to conclude that the differences of the two samples are significant with the probability rate of 99% (p ≤ 0.01)

Conclusion. The study demonstrates the attention defocusing methodology in the professional training of the law enforcement and special service officers being reasonably efficient as it helps improve their fitness for operation in the extreme service situations. The competitive model of the training practices was found to yield the highest educational benefits in the process – when the practice was executed by two subjects acting simultaneously and competing in the right decision making practice. The attention defocusing methodology as such was proved to be the most efficient after the high physical, mental and emotional workloads designed to closely simulate the real combat situations faced by the law enforcement and special service officers. Moreover, such design of the practice was found to make most obvious the benefits of the attention defocusing methodology for the service efficiency of the officers.

References

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