College guidelines

The College of Policing is currently developing guidelines on how chiefs can help frontline officers and staff to resolve conflict in everyday encounters with the public through de-escalation, communication and negotiation. The guidelines aim to make conflict resolution safer, reduce the risks of assault to the police, and improve public safety.

The College has been working with a committee of frontline practitioners, subject matter experts and academics, chaired by ACC Dave Hardcastle – the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for response policing. 

The purpose of the guidelines is to help ensure forces properly support officers and staff to develop their skills in the non-physical aspects of conflict management. Officers and staff use these skills routinely in their day-to-day work, but the degree to which these skills are formally taught as part of their professional development varies. The guidelines cover the following areas:

  • Conflict management skills.
  • Supervisory support.
  • Learning the lessons.
  • Developing the evidence base.

In some situations, where there is an imminent risk to life, force will be necessary and likely to be the safest response. Officers and staff should also be skilled in tools and techniques to de-escalate situations without using force, when it is appropriate to do so, and be confident in their ability to use these skills to help resolve situations safely.

The committee has been drawing on the best available evidence to develop the guidelines, including their own professional experience, insights from frontline officers and staff gathered through focus groups, and extensive reviews of the relevant research on the following questions:

  • What is effective in minimising the need to use force in conflict situations?
  • What increases or decreases the likelihood that a conflict situation will result in the use of force?


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