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Authorised Professional Practice

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


Making rational, effective and defensible decisions can be difficult, especially in the complex environment of policing, which is characterised by uncertainty, multiple views of a particular problem and numerous possible intervention points and solutions.

Characteristics such as these turn most policing decisions into risks. Police decision makers can, therefore, be more accurately described as professional risk takers, with risk taking being at the core of police professionalism.

Although the majority of risk decisions that police personnel make are successful, terms such as ‘risk’ and ‘risk taking’ have negative connotations. The media and public tend to focus on decisions that result in poor outcomes and this has led to the police service becoming risk averse with some officers and staff afraid to make decisions in case things go wrong.

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