What Is The National Decision Model?

The National Decision Model, or NDM, is a nationwide initiative that has been introduced by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). It was first introduced as a replacement for the Conflict Management Model. While the ACPO believed there was nothing wrong with the Conflict Management Model as a means of risk assessment and decision making model, they felt that the name deterred many from using it for a wider variety of purposes.


Police officers are now encouraged to have an understanding of the National Decision Model and risk assessment, and they are encouraged to use the NDM when making any decision, whether it be spontaneous decision or a planned action. There are five stages to the model, and all have been based on a series of mission statements and core values that the ACPO want the force to agree to abide by.

Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is used in many forms of business and in many areas of life. Policing is no different and it often requires quick and decisive action to be taken. Many people assess risks without thinking about it but by following a decision making model like the NDM it means that officers are not only encouraged to consider the risks but how best to avoid them and how to help ensure that they make a decision that is best for all involved.

Risks comes in many forms and the National Decision Model is designed to be used when making any type of decision. This means that it may be used by any force and any officer with the force while undertaking their daily job. The model can be used to help make the best possible decision and also to review and assess decisions that have been made as well.

NDM Stages

There are, essentially, five stages to the National Decision Model as well as a central core of important values and considerations. The central core encourages users to ensure that their decision is in keeping with the core values of the force and to question what the force, fellow officers, victims, and the community as a whole would expect of them in a particular situation. By asking oneself these questions it is possible to ensure that you are upholding the values set out by the ACPO.

  • Stage 1 – gather information
  • Stage 2 – assess the threat and develop a working strategy
  • Stage 3 – determine the relevant policies and whether there is reason to act outside them
  • Stage 4 – identify your options and formulate a contingency
  • Stage 5 – implement your decisions and review to determine value and effectiveness

If the situation is ongoing then you should continue by starting with the National Decision Model again.

Making Spontaneous Decision.

The NDM can be used when making any important policing decisions which includes those spontaneous decisions that are required. The model has been designed to be simple but effective so that it can be used even when in the field by officers reacting to and meeting a series of different situations and events. What’s more, the process can be used to help create a rationale of operational decisions and why those particular decisions were made.

Assisting In Planned Decisions

The model can also be used when formulating long term plans, as well as for spontaneous decision making. It can be used for proactive action as well as reactive and it can be used by managers and assessors to ensure that the most appropriate action was taken and that officers made the best decisions. Even with the model in place, different people may come up with different decisions and implement different plans so monitoring and judging decisions is important.

Mission Statement And Values

At the core the NDM are the mission statement and core values of the ACPO and police forces in general. When making any decisions based in the model, officers are reminded that they should always keep the core values central in their decision making process. This means:

  • Upholding the law fairly
  • Acting with integrity, compassion, and patience
  • Using discretion and professional judgement
  • Listening to communities and their members
  • Ignore the threat of criticism
  • Remaining calm and measured even in the face of difficult circumstances and situations
  • Delivering a service that everybody can be proud to be a part of

By adhering to these core values and following the National Decision Model it is possible for police forces and individual officers to be able to meet the needs of the public, adhere to their own mission statements, and provide a high quality and highly effective service to the community.