Post Incident Procedure

POLICY TITLE: Post Incident Procedures

AUTHOR: Head of Professional Standards Department


AIM OF POLICY: To outline the criteria for the commencement of post incident procedures.

BENEFIT OF POLICY: To ensure the transparency and integrity of post incident procedures.

REASON FOR POLICY: Article 2 European Convention on Human Rights and the duty to investigate.


Post Incident Procedures are instigated following certain serious incidents involving the police that result in death, serious injury or revealed failings in command. The Post Incident Procedures ensure the investigation following an incident is conducted in a manner in which:

  • Ensures the integrity of the legal process in respect of police action, arrested persons or evidential material;
  • Supports the physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing of all involved parties;
  • Ensures any individual, operational and organisational issues, best practice or learning are identified.

Northumbria Police will initiate post incident procedures in the following situations.

Firearms Incidents

Post incident procedures will be commenced in all situations where there has been a discharge of a weapon by the police including those involving a conventional firearm or less lethal weapon, whether intentional or unintentional which has, or may have:

  • Resulted in death or serious injury;
  • Revealed failings in command; and
  • Caused danger to officers or the public.

Non Firearms Related Incidents

Post incident procedures of non-firearms related matters include situations in which a member of the public suffers death or serious injury following some form of contact with the police. This includes:

  • Death (or there is an expectation of death); or
  • Injuries that are, or are potentially, life changing; or
  • In any other circumstances outside of the above criteria when authorised by the duty Gold Commander and in any case where there is, or is a likelihood of, an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) led, managed or supervised investigation into the circumstances of the police contact and the death or injury caused.

A procedural obligation, arising from Article 2 of the European on Human Rights, will be triggered whenever a death has occurred which may be in breach of Article 2 and where officers or staff may have been involved. For this reason, in practical terms an investigation will be required whenever an individual has died following police contact e.g. contact involving any application of the force, a road traffic accident or whilst in custody.

The above criteria does not preclude the referral of incidents in other circumstances where considered appropriate, including incidents which reveal significant failings in command or have caused danger to officers or the public.

The form and extent of the investigation will depend upon the particular circumstances of any incident. Whatever the nature of an investigation, its purpose must be:

"to ensure so far as possible that the full facts are brought to light; that culpable and discreditable conduct is exposed and brought to public notice; that suspicion of deliberate wrongdoing (if unjustified) is allayed; that dangerous practices and procedures are rectified; and that those who have lost their relative may at least have the satisfaction of knowing that lessons learnt from his death may save the lives of others." - R (Amin) v Home Secretary [2004] 1 AC 653

Following the instigation of Post Incident Procedures, the Independent Office for Police Conduct is informed to ensure independent oversight.


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