Thursday, July 1, 2010

Crisis management and the police

One of the most frequently asked questions of organisations participating in crisis management and recovery training is - "how do we work with the police"?

It is essential that police be informed in the event of a serious accident or incident, particularly if it relates to the death or injury of people. It is in fact a statutory requirement that police be contacted immediately following the identification of a critical incident.

The police will designate personnel to assist in the tactical response but they can also provide senior officers to work alongside an organisation to help coordinate the flow of information between an organisation and emergency services. In many countries this is mandatory.

The police must have a key role in informing next of kin of those dead, injured or missing. Company representatives should accompany the police in this process and planning for this is an important part of human resources preparedness for crisis response.

The police can also provide a well-oiled communications structure to support the delivery of messages to stakeholders in a crisis. Internationally, police forces have special Media Liaison Units that will provide interface guidelines in the process of announcing critical information to the public following a serious event.

In escalating crises related to terrorism, police will take command and can be relied on for high-level strategic advice for organisations that need clarity on response and control of their particular situation.

Incorporate police liaison details in your crisis plans.