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Improving officer safety

Published on 11 August 2020
New conflict management guidelines to address concerns about de-escalation techniques, communication and negotiation skills
1 min read
Man pointing with police officer

The results of the College of Policing’s National Police Safety Survey, likely to be the largest ever survey carried out in the police service in England and Wales, are expected to be released in the coming weeks.

We had 40,268 responses from officers and staff and have worked with the National Police Chiefs’ Council to outline a plan to tackle assaults and devise new training to keep officers and staff safe.

In the survey, officers were asked which tactics they used regularly that may have been taught during personal safety training (PST). It was more common for officers to say they used non-physical skills than it was physical skills. ‘Verbal and non-verbal communication’ was the most frequently mentioned non-physical skills (91%), while ‘restraint’ was the most frequently reported physical skill (63%).

However, a quarter (26%) said that not enough time was spent training essential communication and only half (52%) said their training had taught them how to defuse confrontation.

We will be responding to this imminently with new conflict management guidelines for officers and staff which addresses these concerns about de-escalation techniques, communication and negotiation skills.

The new guidelines:

  • have been written using evidence provided by frontline officers and staff in England and Wales
  • provide practical advice for de-escalation, negotiation and communication
  • includes analysis of 88 existing studies looking at conflict resolution
  • place significant emphasis on supervisory support, especially in terms of supporting officers affected by assault

We will release the full results and a national plan in the coming weeks.

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