THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CONFLICT MANAGEMENT TRAINING ON TRAFFIC LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS IN HONG KONG
Lau, Y.Y. and Li, K.W., Psychological Services Group, Hong Kong Police Force and Mak, W.Y., Clinical Psychology Services, Hong Kong SAR
This study attempts to examine the effectiveness of conflict management (CM) training for traffic law-enforcement officers of the Hong Kong Police Force. It was hypothesized that police officers would be more competent and confident in handling conflicts with the public after receiving such training. The project adopted a train-the trainer model and was conducted in two levels. Twenty-one officers were trained by Police Clinical Psychologists in the primary level (PL). These PL participants then served as trainers for 211 fellow officers, who constituted the secondary level participants (SL). The training was comprised of three major components including (1) heightening of participants' awareness of emotional reactions and their approach in handling conflicts; (2)strengthening participants' knowledge of interpersonal communication skills; and (3) enhancing anger management and emotional regulation. Outcome of the training was measured by self-reported questionnaire, paper-and-pencil test, role-play assessment, and supervisors' ratings on field performance. Significant improvements in all outcome measures were found using paired-sample t- tests. Three-month follow-up assessment demonstrated maintenance of the training effects on self-efficacy. Feedback from participants indicated that the training well suited the specific needs of police officers. They found the training useful and practical for their work. The training format was also considered effective generally. Findings of this study show that psychological knowledge can be utilized in law enforcement operations. Dissemination through train-the-trainer model is also supported. The present study also demonstrates that the CM training strategies as recommended in the literature are useful in context of law enforcement.