**Scots Police Teach US Cops How To Avoid Gun Use
American police chiefs have been to Scotland to learn new techniques in how to avoid shooting violent suspects.
As numerous fatal police confrontations cause public anger across the US, officers are rethinking when, and how, they use force.**
The results are part of a hard-htting documentary to be shown on Sky Atlantic and Sky News.
Last year, police in the US shot and killed around 1,000 civilians, many of them unarmed.
**Former hostage negotiator with the Boston police department, Chuck Wexler, brought the team across the Atlantic in an attempt to cut the use of fatal force. **
As the two sets of police officers met, Mr Wexler described how if confronted by a suspect holding a rock an American officer would pull out his gun.
“You’re going to kill someone for throwing a rock. That’s what you’re gonna do,” said Mr Wexler.
“How would society over here think about you shooting someone with a rock? They would not accept it.”
**The senior American officers, from forces such as the NYPD and LAPD, watched demonstrations at Police Scotland training centres.
**Sky News cameras joined them as they went out on patrol in Glasgow, and watched as unarmed police dealt with a variety of potentially violent situations.
The four-day visit showed how Scottish police step back from confrontation, using shields and vehicles for protection.****
They also saw examples of how in Scotland officers use language and negotiation in a different way to their American colleagues.
Sergeant Jim Young trains hundreds of Scottish police recruits every year.
“The American style of policing, it’s very authoritative,” he said.
"There’s a difference of going in, straight up at this level, whereby you’re ordering people, you’re shouting at them. You can’t go anywhere after that.
“But if you start down low you can adjust your communications to suit.”
In the US there are an estimated 300 million firearms in circulation.
The documentary shows the American police officers, while accepting both countries are very different, learning lessons in how to approach volatile situations.
Many American forces adopt what is informally known as the “21-foot rule”.
Police officers keep that distance from someone with a sharp weapon, but will shoot if the suspect closes that gap.
Some see the controversial tactic as a ‘licence to kill’.
**Scots firearms officers have shot civilians only twice in the last decade.
The last officer to be killed on duty through criminal violence in Scotland was in a stabbing in 1994.
“It’s about time that we step up and this is our chance,” said Mr Wexler.
“It’s a crisis but it’s also our chance to do the right thing.”**
:: Hard-Wire: Law Of The Gun is on Sky Atlantic on Monday at 9pm and on Sky News on Tuesday at 9pm.