Essential Skills for Police Officers: EUAM Ukraine Conducts Training on Effective Communication and Conflict De-escalation Techniques

June 17, 2024

If you ask civilians what the most critical skills for a police officer are, the top three answers would likely be accurate shooting, investigative skills, and self-defence. While these abilities are crucial for law enforcement, they alone aren’t enough to earn public trust. On the other hand, mastering effective communication, conflict de-escalation, and problem-solving techniques can significantly help police officers gain the respect and trust of the community.

Bringing EU experience, EUAM Ukraine experts held a training session in Odesa for future police officers. They shared top European practices on building bridges of trust between law enforcement and civilians, even in stressful and conflict situations.

“Public trust must be an essential criterion of police effectiveness. That is how Ukrainian law states, and it is the standard worldwide,” emphasized Jan Danco, EUAM Adviser/Trainer on Community Policing. He provided real-life examples of improving citizen interaction and verbally de-escalating conflicts without using force. One key technique shared was verbal judo – a method to deflect verbally aggressive behaviour and steer encounters onto non-violent terrain.

Georgios Pokas, EUAM Senior Adviser on General Policing, discussed effective communication methods and their application in daily law enforcement work. “In conflict situations, a police officer should quickly assess it and decide whether de-escalation techniques could be applied. If so, they should respond professionally, calmly, using simple language, with empathy and respect toward citizens,” he explained.

Olha Radkevych, EUAM Training Officer, introduced the SARA model (Scan, Analyze, React, Assess), an effective yet simple problem-solving technique. Trainers used real examples from Ukrainian contexts to demonstrate how this tool works, highlighting the importance of communication, collaboration, cooperation, coordination and among all parties involved in problem-solving.

“Of course, there are situations when de-escalation isn’t effective, such as during a shooting or physical attack. Safety should always be the priority,” Georgios Pokas noted, offering advice on using force lawfully and responsibly.

EUAM Ukraine will continue training sessions to develop the soft skills of Ukrainian police officers. The next event is planned for community police officers in Mykolaiv oblast.