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Authorised Professional Practice

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

First published
Public order public safety

Forces should consider intelligence management and information management when managing all public order public safety (POPS) deployments.

Forces should also have basic command unit (BCU) and force-level intelligence structures to provide contextual information and intelligence (for example, community tensions or reaction to a trigger incident), to help mitigate the threat of disorder.

The development of relevant intelligence products helps to define strategic priorities, tactical options and responses during POPS events and operations.

Information and intelligence are required throughout the lifecycle of an event or incident, for example:

  • pre-event (pre-planned), initial response (spontaneous) or to assess rising community tensions
  • during the event or incident
  • following the event or incident

Intelligence coordinator

The gold POPS commander should consider appointing an appropriately trained officer to perform the role of bronze intelligence within the command structure during the planning of a POPS event or operation. This is dependent on the nature, size and scale of the POPS event or operation and whether the event is pre-planned or spontaneous.

The officer fulfilling the role of bronze intelligence is responsible for developing an intelligence strategy and providing relevant information and/or intelligence to the relevant POPS commanders. 

The role of bronze intelligence is to:

  • manage and coordinate the collection, analysis and dissemination of information and intelligence products, in line with the intelligence requirements for the operation
  • establish and manage a dedicated intelligence cell, if required
  • liaise with the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC) Strategic Intelligence and Briefing Unit, if required
  • produce and disseminate appropriate briefing products (for example, for gold or silver commanders to assist with strategy or tactical plan development)
  • act as the intelligence advisor to the silver POPS commander during the operational phase of an event or incident
  • ensure that the silver POPS commander has access to a co-located ‘intelligence pod’, if the main intelligence cell is located away from the silver command structure during protracted or large-scale operations 
  • ensure that protocols exist for the communication of relevant information and intelligence products to assist any post-incident investigation
  • ensure that briefing and debriefing arrangements are in place (for example, appropriate briefing staff and locations)
  • contribute to the strategic debrief, ensuring it is disseminated to the relevant parties

POPS commanders may appoint BCU or force-level intelligence managers to perform the intelligence coordinator role.

When using live facial recognition, forces should ensure they comply with the requirements set out in the Live facial recognition APP.

Further guidance on intelligence management can be found in the Intelligence management APP.

NPoCC Strategic Intelligence and Briefing Unit (SIB)

The NPoCC SIB provides national intelligence and weekly POPS intelligence updates to the police service in relation to POPS. They also provide officers to perform specific POPS roles, such as forward intelligence team (FIT) officers. POPS commanders should consider including FIT officers in their planning and command structure.

The SIB also aims to identify and assess persons or groups that are involved in low-level aggravated protest.

Forces should provide the SIB with a national POPS strategic risk assessment (SRA) to ensure that its intelligence collection process is fit for purpose. The SIB aims to gather an understanding of these thematic areas to support national policing, enabling forces to fully understand any potential threat, harm or risk posed by these groups as assessed in SRA. This detailed level of understanding allows forces to deliver effective and proportionate policing operations.

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