Police Federation

Officer safety must be fit for purpose

27 February 2019

Officers and staff are being asked to give their feedback on new evidence-based guidelines launched for conflict management using de-escalation, communication and negotiation.

The guidelines, published for consultation today (27 February), have been produced so chiefs ensure officers and staff are trained in relevant tactics and techniques where communication and negotiation could help de-escalate a situation, before any use of reasonable force may be necessary.

In response to the consultation, National Chair, John Apter, said: “Officer safety training must be fit for purpose and be based on their needs rather than what a text book tells them they must learn.

“It must cover all aspects of safety training from de-escalation, beat craft skills to an officer fighting for their life. Officer safety training is essential and it must be relevant.”

Assistant Chief Constable David Hardcastle, the chair of the guideline committee, said: “Sometimes the use of reasonable force can’t be avoided, but all officers and staff would prefer to deal with situations in a way where it wasn’t necessary.

“These evidence-based guidelines we have developed capture some of the most effective techniques to diffuse or ‘slow down’ conflict situations.

“By ensuring personal safety training includes these techniques, alongside all other tactics, officers and staff will know they have tried all options if the need to go ’hands on’ becomes necessary.”

The guidelines are not designed to replace the use of reasonable force, there will always be situations that require that. They are designed to empower Chiefs and supervisors to support their officers and staff on appropriate use of force and ensure everyone across forces in England and Wales is trained consistently and to the same level, addressing a 2016 IOPC recommendation.

“This is a way for officers to shape what that training looks like, to have their say so I urge officers to take part in this consultation”, John concluded.

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