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Lesson plan: Command and Control principles


Material for a 45-minute lecture, medium group work and open discussion, part of the Managing the Command Centre training course for Kosovo police officers, developed by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo


The establishment of a clear command and control structure is key to the effective management of any incident. It does not matter how big or small an incident is or its level of complexity - the requirement for clarity over who is doing what, the development of a strategy and operational plan that has been agreed and communicated to those involved is paramount.

The various levels of command; defined not by rank or position but skills and experience carry different levels of responsibilities. Often, but not always, rank or position have been achieved over time and linked to training and development so often are natural progressions to whatever level within the command structure they may occupy.

This session will look at the three levels within that structure; Strategic (Gold), Tactical (Silver) and Operational (Bronze) through evolving situations.

We will also briefly consider a ‘series of essentials’ for effective Command and Control. Finally, if time permits, we will interlink how clearly defining the policing style, the understanding of crowds and how they are constructed, approaches to control groups and finally the importance of the Use of Force can impact on the command and control functions.

The purpose of this lesson is to provide an overview of the principles of good command and control in the management of policing and multi-agency operations.

NB: the term operations include all incidents (planned and spontaneous) as well as public events like sporting fixtures or festivals.

After this block of instruction the participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the differences between Strategic, Tactical and Operational command levels
  2. List the essentials for effective Command and Control
  3. Recognise the importance of the policing style, crowd dynamics, use of force and means of crowd control and the use of force continuum in creating the environment for effective command and control