Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.


Authorised Professional Practice

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

First published
Written by College of Policing
Public order public safety
16 mins read

The National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC) oversees the deployment of officers and staff from across the UK to support forces with specific events and operations. The NPoCC also coordinates mutual aid requests for a variety of public order public safety (POPS) events and operations.

To assist forces in the facilitation of a mobilisation, the NPoCC has produced national guidance to outline responsibilities and expectations.

For further information, refer to the Mobilisation APP.

Tactical options

POPS commanders should consider the options available for inclusion in their strategic, tactical or deployment plans.

Public order public safety advisers (POPSAs) can provide specialist advice on each of the tactical options (you will need to log in to College Learn). POPS commanders should consider seeking advice from POPSAs at the earliest opportunity. 

The tactical options can be used in isolation and/or as a combination of options. Gold POPS commanders can specify which tactical options are available, or are not available, for use in the POPS operation. Commanders should keep a record of which options are, or are not, available. Silver POPS commanders may set tactical parameters in relation to when specified tactical options are, or are not, available for use by bronze POPS commanders.


POPS commanders should take a flexible approach to the options they employ and should consider the following questions to determine the approach.

  • What does the use of the specific tactical option(s), on its own or in combination with other tactics, intend to achieve?
  • Are the tactical options being considered appropriate, proportionate, legitimate, ethical and the least intrusive means to achieve a legitimate and lawful objective?
  • Do the proposed tactics seek to limit, as far as is reasonably practicable, any potential collective and/or individual use of force by police officers engaged on the event or operation?
  • How will POPS commanders seek to provide ethical warnings prior to the use of tactics?
  • Which tactical options have been considered or discounted and why?
  • What advice has been provided by a POPSA relating to the suggested tactical options?
  • How will the success of the tactical option be decided, and when?
  • What factors could help the tactic to achieve its intended aim or hinder it from doing so? For example, what resources are required (such as appropriately trained and accredited personnel, as per national role profiles)? Are these resources readily available?
  • What are the risks involved in the use (or withdrawal) of the tactic? For example, what is the likelihood of the tactic being counterproductive by potentially affecting police legitimacy and public capacity for self-policing?
  • What contingencies and mitigations are available to address these risks? When and under what circumstances should these be used?
  • How will POPS commanders seek to assess public perception and/or community tension in relation to the use of POPS tactical options? How will they also seek to use this as part of their decision-making process?
  • What are the reasonably foreseeable impacts of using the tactical options being considered (for example, political, environmental, sociological, technological, legal, financial or organisational impacts)?
  • Would use of the tactic be reasonable, necessary, proportionate and compliant with relevant European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) articles and relevant domestic legislation relating to the use of force?
  • What are the health, safety and wellbeing implications of the tactical option for both the police and public?
  • Will the decision and supporting rationale be able to withstand scrutiny at a later date?
  • How will POPS commanders ensure appropriate and timely reviews of the available tactical options?

Innovative practice, learning from implementation and research findings should be shared with the wider police service, through the College of Policing. This enables the evidence base to be built on, tactics to be developed and assessed, and police practices to be improved. 

In the event of a multi-agency response, partners should also refer to the joint decision model (JDM).

Was this page useful?

Do not provide personal information such as your name or email address in the feedback form. Read our privacy policy for more information on how we use this data

What is the reason for your answer?
I couldn't find what I was looking for
The information wasn't relevant to me
The information is too complicated