Supervision and oversight

Authorised Professional Practice

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This page is from APP, the official source of professional practice for policing.

First published
Written by College of Policing
Hate crime
5 mins read

Three levels of supervision will support an effective police response to hate crime.

  • An individual who has operational oversight of individual enquiries, whether that comes from dedicated hate crime officers or a single nominated supervisor who has oversight alongside other duties.
  • A commander who has overall responsibility for hate crime.
  • A chief officer who is responsible for the strategic direction, performance measurement and establishing strategic partnerships.

Forces should adopt an appropriate model for supervising hate crime in their force. Each force has different structures, and some, particularly smaller rural forces, will find it difficult to dedicate full-time staff. However, it is important that someone has oversight.

Supervising investigations

To ensure personnel involved in hate crime investigation maintain the highest standards and are adequately skilled, supervisors should take an active interest in overseeing the investigative process. They should provide support and assistance and take steps to bridge any gaps in the investigation.

A duty inspector or supervisor should consider attending the scene to assess the incident, and potentially provide advice, assistance and leadership to investigators.

It will send a clear message to the victim, witnesses and the community that the matter is being taken seriously. Repeated or serious attacks can lead to retribution, fear or even civil unrest, and it is essential that the broader implications are considered early. See Community engagement and tension.

Supervisors and managers should ensure:

  • the incident or crime is accurately recorded and flagged
  • the initial investigating officer is undertaking an effective investigation, has an investigative plan and is supporting the victim
  • an initial risk assessment has been conducted and recorded, and appropriate interventions considered and implemented where appropriate
  • intelligence is fed into the force systems
  • consideration is given as to whether the incident should be identified as a critical incident and, if so, attend the scene
  • if a critical incident is identified, fully brief the area commander or on-call commander at the earliest opportunity
  • where appropriate, a decision log is opened to safeguard accountability
  • any ongoing incident is handed over to incoming shift supervisors
  • any risk assessments and safeguarding plans for the victim are reviewed
  • community impact assessment is completed
  • the local press and/or force press officers are briefed

Supervisors should also ensure:

  • there is liaison with specialist hate crime investigators, the hate crime coordinator or equality/diversity staff if available
  • any training needs of the team are identified and addressed
  • all officers are aware of force or government initiatives regarding anti-social behaviour


Debriefing is good practice after any incident. It provides an opportunity to receive feedback and support team members, and adds value to the investigation.

See APP on briefing and debriefing.

Command team oversight

In addition to clear lines of supervision, it has also proved valuable in some areas to have a nominated officer responsible at command team level. This role fits well with broader responsibilities such as community cohesion, crime management or community engagement, and allows a single person to have oversight of performance, investigative quality and community confidence issues.

Strategic oversight

Adopting a force lead at executive team level helps to set clear strategic direction, offering leadership to staff and partners alike. This role fits well with broader responsibilities such as community cohesion, equality and community engagement, and allows a single person to set the strategic direction.

See also Strategic leadership and performance management.


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