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(from Greek astynomia "police" + phobia "fear")

noun -- The overwhelming, irrational fear of the police or police officers, or of the secret police.

The actual existence and nature of this specific phobia is under intense debate by psychologists and psychiatrists.
Many people, including some experts in psychology, psychiatry and sociology believe that it is possible for someone to go overboard and excessively and irrationally fear the police, or even the brutally oppressive secret police. Of course most people do not fear the police or secret police, but, instead, most people respect such government functions for their benefits of protection and an orderly society. However, if the circumstances and conditions in a person's life merit so, it is indeed possible for that person to fear the police or secret police just as much as strangers, women, light, or even eggs. Astynomiaphobia (Greek αστυνομία astynomia "police" + φοβία phobia "fear") is a nearly seventy (70) year old name for what is occasionally regarded as an irrational fear of police and law enforcement; it is not a neologism, but was coined back in the early 1940's by Dr. Eryx Petalas, a Greek psychologist. Petalas, after diligent research and thorough observation, concluded that there existed a rational way, as well as an irrational way, to fear those who strictly enforce the law, investigate crime and arrest and detain suspected criminals without warrant. However, Petalas' ideas were utterly scorned by most of his colleagues, and the idea of a "police phobia" went virtually unrecognized and forgotten. The terms police phobia and policophobia have been used more as informal, vulgar and humorous terms. Unlike astynomiaphobia, they are not really scientific terms, but instead are terms of common humor, slang and conversation.

Astynomiaphobia has not been widely published because few psychological specialists have actually done research on the phobia, but research is currently being done, mostly by a handful of psychologists in Europe and in the Middle East. Of course if such a specific phobia actually exists in its own right, then it would probably add to the burden of the government's prosecutors, because defendants would be able to use astynomiaphobia (fear of police) as a criminal defense in court under certain circumstances.

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