Incident Management / Intervention Model
The Incident Management Intervention Model (IMIM) is what RCMP officers use to assess and manage risk in all encounters with the public. It helps to determine what intervention is needed, such as verbal de-escalation or the use of another method.
Our IMIM aligns with the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police's National Use of Force Framework. It contributes to a common vocabulary approach to police intervention by police agencies across Canada.
New cadets at the RCMP Academy learn about the IMIM in their second week. It's then integrated into training for the remaining 24 weeks.
After leaving depot, all RCMP officers need to re-certify on the IMIM every year.
The IMIM is not policy or law. It shouldn't be considered a model to justify use of a police intervention.
Incident Management Intervention Model in practice
The IMIM is a visual aid that helps officers picture an event and explain why they used the intervention methods they did. It's also helpful when an officer needs to clearly explain their actions in court. The model is also a teaching aid used for training officers.
In April 2021, the RCMP updated the Incident Management Intervention Model (IMIM) annual re-certification training as well as the IMIM graphic to place more emphasis on communication and crisis intervention and de-escalation. Crisis Intervention and De-escalation now surrounds the graphic, emphasizing de-escalation as the preferred result of any interaction. Crisis Intervention and De-escalation provides police with tools that can often be used instead of physical intervention options.
The graphic reflects the rapidly evolving and dynamic nature of police work. Unlike a continuum or linear pathway, the model doesn't lead the officer through a stepped progression of intervention options. The officer instead selects an appropriate option to control the situation, based on the totality of the situation.
Basic principles of the Intervention Model
Six basic principles underlie the IMIM:
- The primary duty of a peace officer is to preserve and protect life
- The primary objective of any intervention is public safety
- Peace officer safety is essential to public safety
- The IMIM is consistent with federal statute law and common law authorities and in no way replaces or augments the law
- The intervention model must always be applied in the context of a careful assessment of risk, taking into account the likelihood and extent of life loss, injury, and damage to property as a result of the intervention
- Risk assessment is a continuous process and risk management must evolve as situations change
The assessment process
The process of assessing an incident involves:
- the situational factors
- the subject behaviours
- the officer's perception
- tactical considerations
An officer must carefully consider each of these above categories when forming a risk assessment, and responding to situations.
There are a lot of factors that go into assessing a situation and determining an appropriate response. These include:
- low light
- presence of backup
- availability of cover
- distance from the subject
The officer's perceptions
- the size of the person
- weapons nearby
- previous encounters with the person
- the person's emotional state
- time of day
- number of people present compared to number of police officers present
- active or passive resistant
- grievous bodily harm or death
Police officers are also trained to continually monitor risk during an interaction with the public as things can change very quickly. Police officers must always be ready to shift tactics.
Officers have several response options available to them, and when conducting their risk assessment and choosing an action, have to take into account how that response might affect the subject, the surrounding public, themselves and their partners. Response options fall under the following categories:
When police officers are around, they have to recognize that their presence may affect the situation positively or negatively.
Verbal & Non-verbal communication
- this includes crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques, the most commonly used intervention by police officers
- what we say, and how we say it, has an impact on our interaction with people
- non-verbal communication encompasses 70-90% of all communication
- this can include soft techniques, like handcuffs applied without resistance
- it can also include harder techniques, like take-downs and strikes
- Vascular Neck Restraint is included in this, and is limited to being used only when a police officer fears grievous bodily harm or death
This includes options like OC spray, conducted energy weapons, extended range impact weapons, and batons
This primarily includes issued firearms, including a pistol, shotgun, or patrol carbine
Explaining the intervention
Police officers must also clearly explain what happened before, during and after the incident. This process is called "legal articulation." This articulation will include the officer's risk assessment, helping people who where not there understand what the officer saw, what it meant to them, as well as how it made them feel.
An officer's intervention is measured against what a reasonable, trained, prudent police officer would do faced with a similar set of circumstances.
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