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Command and control

Authorised Professional Practice

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


The police service deals with a wide range of incidents and operations that are typically resolved by deploying available resources. There are, however, certain incidents or operations where the police response requires a different approach and it may be necessary to establish a dedicated command structure. Command and control is the authority and capability of an organisation to direct the actions of its personnel and the use of its equipment.

The principles of command and control are scalable. They can be used to resolve incidents and operations ranging in size and scope, from the policing of a local community event to a major criminal investigation such as a multi-seated terrorist attack requiring the mobilisation of several police forces.

The incident may be part of a wider multi-agency response and have far-reaching consequences, in which case partners will follow the Joint Emergency Service Interoperability Principles (JESIP).

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