In the Media

Police use technology to cut through bureaucracy

PUBLISHED October 22, 2012

Authorised Professional Practice (APP) streamlines existing guidance onto a single online platform. Police will no longer have to consult bulky manuals to stay up to date with the latest guidance - they just have to visit APP online. To date, APP has seen a 60% reduction in policy documents, equating to a reduction of thousands of pages of guidance.

ACPO lead for APP, Chief Constable Sara Thornton said, "APP will help officers and staff make the right decisions quickly and accurately. By referring to an online document they will spend less time poring over guidance books in an office and more time on the beat in their communities."

She continued, "As technology improves, officers will be able to check policy and guidance while at the scene of an incident using hand-held devices. This will bring massive change to their work and the service we provide the public."

"Policing relies on discretion and decision making and we need to give police officers the tools to help them operate, in a way which is practical and not a burden. APP is a major step forward in doing this."

In recent years, there has been an increased focus on producing large amounts of policing policy and guidance. But studies have shown that an over-abundance of guidance impedes good policing rather than assists it.

In September 2010 Chief Officers agreed a wide-ranging review of guidance across all ACPO business areas. This review resulted in the decision to consolidate and replace current guidance with APP.

APP will be formally launched to police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on October 22nd 2012.



APP will initially be available as an interactive pdf with plans to migrate it to a website in 2013.

Studies into guidance include Sir Ronnie Flanagan's review of policing and the work of Jan Berry and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.

The APP project team has already consolidated guidance in the following areas:


Intelligence Management

Information Management


Engagement and Communications

Prosecution and Case Management

Detention and Custody

Decision Making

Armed Policing


Civil Contingencies


Organised Crime

Public Order

By the end of 2013 the following will also be included:
Counter Terrorism


Domestic Extremism

Cyber Crime

Financial Investigation


Major Crime

Prison Intelligence

Professional Standards

Protecting Vulnerable People

Roads Policing

Stop and Search

To view an interview with Chief Constable Sara Thornton and a demonstration of APP, please log on to:

To read a blog about APP by Chief Constable Sara Thornton, please go to: