Police Support Unit (PSU) Commander

Job Family Operational Support
Job Sub Family Public Order
Code OPS-PO-TL-Police Support Unit Commander v1.0

Role Purpose

Police Support Unit (PSU) Commanders are deployed to spontaneous or pre-planned public order/public safety events as a resource to enable an effective policing response and act, where needed, in a mutual aid capacity.

They will be trained and equipped in tactics as outlined within module C5 of the National Police Public Order Training Curriculum (NPPOTC).

Key Accountabilities

• Possess a clear understanding of the gold commander’s strategy, the silver commander’s tactical plan and their bronze commander’s deployment plan and to understand their role within it.

• Lead, deploy and control a Police Support Unit (PSU) as directed by their geographical or functional bronze commander and coordinate with other PSU commanders and/or specialist resources in support of wider strategic, tactical and deployment plans.

• Brief the PSU on the public order operation and the specific tasks and objectives to be achieved, ensuring that they understand their roles, the roles of others and the parameters in which they can operate.

• Ensure that the PSU is sufficiently resourced, equipped, presented and able to carry out the tasks allocated and report any deficiencies to the respective bronze commander.

• Remain suitably located in order to maintain effective operational command of a PSU and area of responsibility and to remain available to those under their command and respective bronze commander.

• Provide bronze commanders with ‘fast time’ updates, including any variation in agreed tactics within their geographical/functional area of responsibility, to enable informed and proportionate decision making.

• Monitor PSU team members to ensure performance, health, safety and welfare are within operational constraints, especially after prolonged periods of confrontation, and to take appropriate action.

• Conduct ongoing assessment and evaluation of intelligence and information in relation to task and objectives and threat and risk to public, team and individual safety, and to communicate emerging issues to the command team and ensure that tactics and plans remain appropriate to the event.

• Ensure own and PSU compliance with all applicable national and regional guidelines and legislation to ensure the safe and legal policing of public order events.

• Engage in and contribute to the debriefing process, ensuring that the PSU are fully debriefed and provided post-operational support, to ensure information is effectively transmitted and to contribute to organisational learning.


All roles are expected to know, understand and act within the ethics and values of the Police Service.

The Competency and Values Framework (CVF) has six competencies that are clustered into three groups. Under each competency are three levels that show what behaviours will look like in practice.

It is suggested that this role should be operating or working towards the following levels of the CVF:

Resolute, compassionate and committed

Inclusive, enabling and visionary leadership

Intelligent, creative and informed policing

Education, Qualifications, Skills and Experience

Prior education and experience:

• Multi Stage Fitness Test (MSFT) standard for PSU officers, which is the endurance standard test at level 6:3.

• Trained to Module 2 – First aid skills police (emergency first aider at work) of the College of Policing First Aid learning programme.

• Officer safety trained as per their individual force policy.

• To access PSU commander training the candidate must be an Inspector or above and must be of substantive rank (includes Temporary ranks). Should the use of acting ranks be deemed necessary, this may only be for use within the relevant force area and not on mutual aid. The decision to use non substantive ranks should be documented by the respective public order gold commanding the event / operation.

• Level 2 public order trained to the standards described in module B2 of the NPPOTC.

• Complete an assessed nationally approved NPPOTC module C5 course for public order bronze commanders working to the national occupational standard (PO4 – Command PSU resources in public order operations)


• Able to set out logical arguments clearly, adapting language, form and message to meet the needs of different people / audiences.

• Able to manage the introduction of new business processes or ways of working at team level.

• Able to identify cause and effect and develop a course of action designed to target root causes and mitigate risks.

• Able to develop and motivate a team and create strong engagement of individuals with their personal and team objectives and with Force values, behaviours and strategic priorities.

• Able to identify exceptional situations that merit recognition and to take appropriate action.

• Able to identify situations that require disciplinary action and to respond appropriately.

• Able to review and assess individual and team performance against expected standards, providing objective and effective feedback and ensuring corrective actions are taken where necessary.

• Able to plan ahead; to allocate work appropriately within the team and to identify and mitigate risks to delivery.

• Able to identify key stakeholders, understand potential roles and to take appropriate steps to understand their needs and concerns.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

• Comply with mandated annual refresher training requirements including but not limited to; First Aid and Officer Safety.

• Keep up to date with changing public order legislation and how this may affect you in your role.

• Maintain knowledge of crowd dynamics and crowd psychology based on current guidance and best practice.

• Keep up to date with public order trends and learning as promulgated through the public order national learning and development group and other forums such as the public order communities on POLKA.

Professional Registration/Licenses

• Must undertake a module B2 training package on an annual basis (within 365 days) to maintain status as an accredited and trained level 2 public order officer.

Links to other Profiles

NPoCC Mercury Profile – PSU Commander 75 v2

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