Community Tension Assessment

Dated: 18 Aug 2019

POLICY TITLE: Community Tension Assessment

OWNING DIRECTORATE: Major Crime and Intelligence

AUTHOR: Chief Inspector, Northern Area Command


AIM OF POLICY: This policy describes a community tension assessment and why it is used.

BENEFIT OF POLICY: Dissemination of information surrounding community tension assessments.

REASON FOR POLICY: To raise awareness of Northumbria Police’s commitment to building trust and confidence in the community and reducing crime and disorder.


Northumbria Police is committed to building trust and confidence in the community and reducing crime and disorder, and will work with partners to ensure that the community it serves is safe and orderly.

A community tension assessment (CTA) is a means of measuring the mood (actual or anticipated) of any group of people as a result of an incident, event, or pattern which is likely to cause concerns or tensions. It is used to inform police and partnership interventions through the National Intelligence Model tasking and coordination process, usually post-event, to restore tranquillity to the area or group affected. Successful tension assessments demand strong and sustained professional relationships with key individual networks and must be contextualised within the current social and political climate.

A CTA can be used to assist the decision-making processes during critical incidents and in planning for events which have the potential to become critical incidents due to the possible impact on the community.

The objectives of a ‘tension assessment’ are: 

  • To identify any factors which may adversely impact upon the community 
  • To minimise the impact of the incident on the community, especially in relation to crime, the fear of crime, and disorder. 
  • If the incident involves a serious crime, seek to ensure that serious crime investigations are progressed without creating or heightening tensions within the community. 
  • To identify opportunities to promote positive relationships between the community and the police, both in the short and long term. 

A CTA can also be used post incident/event to ensure that there are no other issues that might impact upon a return to normality in any given situation.

An ongoing, national CTA is provided by the National Community Tension Team under Operation Element. This provides data which will allow a local community tension assessment to be contextualised within the national and international situation.

If criminal proceedings arise out of any incident where a CTA has been produced, it may be disclosable material and should be filed for future reference. Local procedures for the filing of completed CTAs may vary; local Community Engagement Teams can provide specific local arrangements and provide further assistance in the completion of the form.





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