Incident command decision-making: Perception vs reality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the world turns to building resilience to the increasing threats to global and local peace and order research initiatives which inform on the training endeavours designed to advance decision-making skill development for incident commanders becomes a compelling imperative. In the often chaotic fast paced business of policing it is understandable that officers have little opportunity to pause and take stock of how the reality of decision-making experience transforms from perception to reality. This paper discusses a research project which traced the learning experience for a cohort of senior officers as they transitioned through an Incident Command and Control simulation based learning exercise to application on the frontline of policing. The key focus of the research was to identify the factors and their relative importance which are perceived to influence decision-making during management of a high risk high stakes policing response and whether in the reality of application the influential factors and their ranking change. A pre and post simulation survey was conducted followed by a field based interview four months post simulation participation. The findings suggest a clear shift in the factors and their level of influence identified prior to the simulation exercise and a further shift when decisions are made in the field of operation. The findings have implications for the strategic positioning of simulation based training and its content within police education and training for operational policing. More widely the findings offer guidance for education and training initiatives for practitioners in professions with responsibilities for emergency management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-38
Number of pages7
JournalAustralasian Policing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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