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Research Update: SHOT-COVID19 study investigates police officers' work demands during the COVID-19 crisis

The spread of the COVID-19 virus in Europe has changed the way we live and work. Social distancing and working in home office has become crucial to flatten the curve of new infections. These changes also affect (international) research projects like SHOTPROS. Conducting studies with human participants in real-life is not possible and police officers delivering essential services are working hard to ensure public security. Our partners from Heidelberg University initiated a new study, SHOT-COVID19, to make the best out of this difficult situation in the attempt to support police crisis management.

Aim of the study

The COVID-19 crisis sets up stressful and uncertain circumstances in which police officers must decide and act adequately and quickly. By investigating their work demands in this situation, valuable data about their requirements, well-being and coping strategies can be gained which will improve the current and future crisis management. This is of added value for the SHOTPROS project, as we aim to improve police training for stressful and high-risk operational situations which are likely to occur in crisis.

“The current exceptional situation places unprecedented demands on the crisis management of the police. It is a unique opportunity to gain information on how police officers cope with real-life stress situations.”

– Initiator of the SHOT-COVID19 study Dr. Marie Ottilie Frenkel of Heidelberg University

How is the SHOT-COVID19 study conducted?

European Law Enforcement Agencies are currently busy fulfilling their tasks to ensure public safety and compliance of the governmental measures. Therefore, the team of Heidelberg University – in close collaboration with the other research partners in SHOTPROS – developed an online-survey to ensure time efficient and location-independent participation. Participants can answer the survey on every web-enabled device in 10 to 12 minutes. This method of data collection enables collaboration with our Law Enforcement partners without interfering with their daily tasks.

Who is contributing?

Heidelberg University initiated the study and is supported by the other SHOTPROS partners. We are collaboratively working on a successful implementation and conduction of SHOT-COVID in five European Law Enforcement Agencies and three languages. Meanwhile, the number of participants is increasing as we are in contact with other LEAs who also expressed their interest in the study.

International cooperation in research and security is of central importance in times like these. The SHOT-COVID19 study proves that meaningful and end-user-oriented research is possible despite difficult circumstances. The main objective is to support European police officers in their daily challenges – today and in the future.

If you are interested in participation or further information, please contact PD Dr. Marie Ottilie Frenkel (

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