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Background. Risk assessments are used by the police in order to identify the need for victim protection. In Sweden, two kinds of methods are used in police settings – variants of instruments developed in the HCR-20 tradition, and an instrument designed within one regional police authority: the Police screening Tool for Violent Crime (PST-VC).
Aim. To study the reliability and validity of the PST-VC as a general tool for assessing and managing threat and violence in police settings.
Method. Seventeen cases were evaluated by ten police employees. Each case was evaluated by two assessors randomly paired and blind to each other´s assessments. All cases were also assessed previously at the time of the police report, together 51 pairs of assessments.
Results. The inter-rater agreement was examined for five variables: the suspected offenders’ access to weapons, previous offences, previous violence/threat against the victim, the global risk assessments and the recommended protective actions. Inter-rater agreement was highest for the global assessments and the recommended protective actions. However, agreeing about these global ratings was associated with widely varying scores for the structured variables among the raters. The fairly high reliability was most likely due to similar “gut feelings” induced by the police culture.