Police Briefings Not Efficient

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Policemen forget nearly 70 percent of the presented information and assignments at briefings. This is evident from a report which will be presented today by Crisislab, a research institute affiliated with the Radboud University. Crisislab examined the operational police briefings.

The briefing is for many policemen the start of their service. They hear there, for example, which suspicious persons and vehicles they have to monitor. In the report - commissioned by the Police & Science program - a relief sergeant explains what can go wrong when the briefing information lasts bad. He failed to arrest and hand cough a dangerous burglary suspect. The suspect was at the briefing that morning described as "very aggressive and supposed to carry a firearm", but that was totally forgotten by the policeman. The researchers took memory tests shortly after police briefings in the regions of Zuidoost Brabant, Gelderland-Zuid and Drenthe. They conclude that the information transfer was 'very unreliable' and made recommendations, such as using fewer slides in the presentation. Also note booklets can help: agents who made notes - a minority - scored the best on the memory test.

Coffee breaks

"So there is already room for improvement," says lead researcher Astrid Scholtens of Crisislab. "But maybe the entire police briefing must disappear and agents must share information in a different way. We often heard that such a briefing is seen as a nice social event with the entire department, but briefings are not intended for that. Policemen also have coffee breaks, which might better serve for team building?” Jannine van den Berg of the leading team of the National Police Corps, sees in the report a confirmation  that the transfer of information within the police force could be better. She expects much of the this year established Real Time Intelligence Centers. These control rooms feed policemen, who pull out, information through their cell phone. These data also come from public sources, like photos of suspects picked from Facebook. "This leads to the right information at the right moment and the classic briefings may not always the best way."


Nevertheless, Van den Berg also wants to maintain the traditional briefing, as this would be for units the best way to keep informed about each other's work. To encourage policemen to make notes, to use as a reminder, she doesn’t think is necessary. "They are professionals and they are responsible for getting the right information."