Original Articles

Critical Incidents Impact Management Among South African Police Service Officers


This article describes and interprets the law enforcement processes of managing critical incidents in a South African police district. Twenty participants from various police units were selected through purposive and theoretical sampling techniques. Data were collected using unstructured open-ended interviews, field notes, diaries and follow-up telephone interviews, and analysed through the constant comparative data analysis method. Findings suggest the police to have individual and in-group preferences for particular inner strategies of coping, as well as the external resources of relying on various forms of support from others and professional consultation in the form of debriefing. The study recommends that individualistic and contextual trauma management be considered.

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