Critical incidents: investigation, management and training
Policing has had to respond to many complex political, economic, social, technological, ethical and legal developments. Managing critical incidents (such as terrorist attacks, murders, rapes and child abuse cases) involves making and communicating difficult decisions in complex, uncertain and dynamic environments. Officers must motivate large teams and work in concert with other agencies that may have competing agendas, and they must adhere to strict legal and organizational priorities and policies. Much has been learnt from the management of critical incidents in non-policing areas, and the police have developed their own new approaches that have been tested in recent high-profile investigations in England and Wales. This chapter examines the changes to investigative doctrine, processes and accountability that have arisen as a result of the police’s experience of critical incidents. These changes are recent: five years ago many of the tools described here, which are now being used routinely, would not even have been considered.