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Deployment planning

Authorised Professional Practice

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

First published
Written by College of Policing
3 mins read

In accordance with the tactical plan, and if practicable, the bronze (operational) commander may be required to develop deployment plan(s) relevant to their area of command (functional or geographic).

A deployment plan is likely to be primarily focused on the detailed deployment of resources and contingencies.

In incidents, spontaneous or otherwise, involving a multi-agency response, Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles (JESIP) should be followed when devising deployment plans in line with a Joint Dynamic Hazards Assessment using the joint decision model.


Commanders may find the following questions useful in deciding the police actions and contingencies that will form part of the deployment plan.

  • What if the police encounter resistance to these tactics?
  • What if individuals/groups attempt to disperse or evade the police when these tactics are used?
  • If the subjects immediately comply with an escalation in the level of tactical force, what action should follow?
  • What are the health and safety implications for officers and members of the public who may be affected by police action?
  • How do these considerations affect policing style?

Plans should anticipate and include the need to continually update officers during any period of deployment.


Once the tactical plan is in place, the bronze commander implements the relevant part of the silver commander’s plan, using appropriate tactics within their geographic or functional area of responsibility. Implementing the tactical plan involves actions and contingencies that are reasonable and proportionate to the circumstances.

Commanders should ensure that officers understand the terms of their deployment. This may include:

  • the actions they are required to carry out
  • the legal basis for each action
  • the tactical objective they are to accomplish
  • any relevant tactical parameters
  • policing style
  • how actions may be escalated or de-escalated in response to the circumstances

Officers undertake roles as directed. Effective and consistent briefing and debriefing processes and command protocols are crucial in the success of a police response.

It is essential that each officer fully understands the actions they are expected to carry out. There will also be circumstances in which officers are required to make their own assessment of the situation and act accordingly. This may extend to identifying, locating, containing or even neutralising an immediate threat.

Record of deployment

This should capture summarised information regarding a mobilisation of police resources and primarily provides a timeline of activity for the unit.

The content of the record of deployment is subject to disclosure and should not be used to record sensitive information. It is not intended to be a record of evidence or welfare issues during an operation. Officers are to be encouraged to record such information separately, either using the appropriate forms or their pocket notebook.


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