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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


Public order public safety (POPS) commanders, public order public safety advisers (POPSAs) and POPS planners should ensure that they are involved at the earliest opportunity in planning for events. Key stakeholders, partner agencies and, where appropriate, event organisers should also be included in the planning stages as early as possible.

POPS commanders, POPSAs and POPS planners should aim for clear lines of accountability and should ensure that responsibility is fully understood to support a detailed and coordinated approach. 

Operational orders

The POPS planner should prepare an operational order and related documentation on behalf of the silver commander but it remains the responsibility of the silver POPS commander that such operational orders/documentation are completed. This order should give information on legislation and European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) considerations that are applicable to the event.

The order should be developed using the IIMARCH model:

  • Information and intelligence¬†
  • Intention
  • Method
  • Administration
  • Risk assessment
  • Communications
  • Human rights and other legal issues ¬†

POPS commanders are responsible for ensuring that operational orders and briefings are accurate and contain all relevant information. POPS planners should assist in developing and circulating operational orders for the POPS event or operation. These briefings should follow the IIMARCH model and, where possible, should include both visual (for example, PowerPoint) and verbal input.

Tabletop exercises

Tabletop exercises can also be used to test the effectiveness of the proposed plan, for significant and complex pre-planned POPS events and operations.

Where used, there should be sufficient time between the tabletop exercise and the live event to allow for any relevant changes to be made. Where tabletop exercises are used, forces are encouraged to ensure other relevant stakeholders (Category 1 and Category 2 responders, event organisers) are involved in the exercise.

Peer reviewers

Forces may wish to consider POPS peer reviewers to review proposed plans. A list of peer reviewers can be obtained from the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC).

Forces should also use debrief-trained officers to provide key learning points that may assist in planning future POPS events or operations that are similar in nature.

Forces should ensure that they follow relevant disclosures, freedom of information (FOI) requirements and processes when conducting peer reviews and/or structured debriefs.

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