We analyse information, data, viewpoints and combine the best available evidence to understand the root causes of issues that arise in complex situations.
We draw on our experience, knowledge and wide sources of evidence to give us a greater view of what is happening underneath the surface. We combine insight and evidence-based approaches to help make decisions, accepting that we will not have all the answers but will always try to gather facts and robust information to be able to think tactically and strategically.
Why is it important?
Critical thinking drives effective policing as we are faced with a wide variety of complex issues on a day-to-day basis. This means that we all need to be able to make sense of a complex environment, accept that ambiguity is part of contemporary working life and, therefore, be able to identify interrelationships between different factors.
If we are able to analyse the best available evidence and see what is happening underneath the surface, we will be better able to make confident and effective decisions and implement preventative solutions that deal with root causes.
- I recognise the need to think critically about issues. I value the use of analysis and testing in policing.
- I take in information quickly and accurately.
- I am able to separate information and decide whether it is irrelevant or relevant and its importance.
- I solve problems proactively by understanding the reasons behind them, using learning from evidence and my experiences to take action.
- I refer to procedures and precedents as necessary before making decisions.
- I weigh up the pros and cons of possible actions, thinking about potential risks and using this thinking to inform our decisions.
- I recognise gaps and inconsistencies in information and think about the potential implications.
- I make decisions in alignment with our mission, values and the Code of Ethics.
- I ensure that the best available evidence from a wide range of sources is taken into account when making decisions.
- I think about different perspectives and motivations when reviewing information and how this may influence key points.
- I ask incisive questions to test out facts and assumptions, questioning and challenging the information provided when necessary.
- I understand when to balance decisive action with due consideration.
- I recognise patterns, themes and connections between several and diverse sources of information and best available evidence.
- I identify when I need to take action on the basis of limited information and think about how to mitigate the risks in so doing.
- I challenge others to ensure that decisions are made in alignment with our mission, values and the Code of Ethics.
- I balance risks, costs and benefits associated with decisions, thinking about the wider impact and how actions are seen in that context. I think through ‘what if’ scenarios.
- I use discretion wisely in making decisions, knowing when the ‘tried and tested’ is not always the most appropriate and being willing to challenge the status quo when beneficial.
- I seek to identify the key reasons or incidents behind issues, even in ambiguous or unclear situations.
- I use my knowledge of the wider external environment and long-term situations to inform effective decision making.
- I acknowledge that some decisions may represent a significant change. I think about the best way to introduce such decisions and win support