New guidance for death or serious injury incidents

You can read steps to take to manage events after serious firearms incidents

We have recently published guidance to assist officers and staff following an armed policing incident which leads to a death or serious injury.

The post-deployment authorised professional practice aims to balance the need for an open, full and independent investigation of any incident with managing any ongoing threat to the public and attending to the welfare of those involved.

It will tell you steps that can be taken to provide transparency, including considering separation, supervising officers and involving the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The guidance also makes a number of key points:

  • conferring between those involved in any incident and others should not take place before a statement is made, other than to share operational or safety critical information
  • officers who have had to use firearms as part of their role should be treated as professional witnesses unless there are grounds to suspect that they have done something wrong
  • automatic separation of those most involved from their colleagues is not required unless it is safe, practical and necessary to do so and should be decided by the senior officer in command of the incident.

College of Policing CEO Alex Marshall said:
'Officers who carry out armed duties are volunteers with high levels of training who put themselves at risk to protect the public and should be treated as professional witnesses unless there are reasons to believe that they have not acted professionally.

'There should be no conferring before a statement is made but, if police are responding to an ongoing situation, we expect officers to make practical decisions about providing operational information to protect the public.

'We are aware that automatic separation is perceived very negatively by officers and we are satisfied that the approach set out in the guidance provides the necessary protection and support both to the independent investigation and those most closely involved.'

You can read the full guidance on the College website.






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