This article examines police officers' perceptions of their colleagues, the police organization, other criminal justice agencies, the media, the politicians, and the public toward the use of deadly force against criminals in situations known as encounters , portrayed as spontaneous shootouts between the police and hardened criminals. Interviews with 38 police officers of various ranks in Mumbai, India, reveal that they perceive an overall sense of approval or complicity for shootouts, sometimes of dubious legality, which made accountability mechanisms more a paper exercise than in actually ensuring compliance with legal and ethical standards. Though the abuse of deadly force is not unique or limited to the police force reported in this study, the perception of police officers that there is general support for, or even apathy toward, shortcut methods to deal with alleged criminals is noteworthy and has implications for policing elsewhere.
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