Mapping Demands: How to Prepare Police Officers to Cope with Pandemic-Specific Stressors

  • Marie Ottilie Frenkel Heidelberg University, 1Institute for Sport and Sport Sciences
  • Laura Giessing Institute for Sport and Sport Sciences, Heidelberg University
  • Emma Jaspaert Leuven Institute of Criminology, Department of Criminal Law and Criminology, Faculty of Law, KU Leuven
  • Mario Staller Department of Policing, University of Applied Sciences for Police and Public Administration North-Rhine Westfalia
Keywords: COVID-19, police training, constraint-led approach, stress, virtual reaility


Frequent and varied training of police officers is crucial to optimally prepare them for the challenges
they face in their police work and allow them to cope with these demands effectively.
The Horizon 2020 project “SHOTPROS” aims to develop a training program in Virtual Reality (VR)
to train appropriate decision-making and acting capabilities of police officers in high-stress
situations. The current COVID-19 pandemic can be considered a prime example of such a highstress
situation. Therefore, the aim of the present article is to re-analyse data from a longitudinal
survey among 2567 police officers across Europe, to identify pandemic-related demands experienced
by the participating officers during the first COVID-19 lockdown that can be integrated
and trained in (VR) scenario-based training, to better prepare police officers for the current and
potentially future pandemic outbreaks. Following the constraints-led approach to training,
pandemic-related demands are categorized as task, environmental, and individual constraints to provide police trainers with a toolkit how to change and manipulate training scenarios according
to the trainees’ needs. Offering high control over training procedures, VR might be an
effective tool to incorporate pandemic-related stressors into current training practices.


How to Cite
Frenkel, M., Giessing, L., Jaspaert, E., & Staller, M. (2021). Mapping Demands: How to Prepare Police Officers to Cope with Pandemic-Specific Stressors. European Law Enforcement Research Bulletin, (21), 11 - 22. Retrieved from