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

Incident Management/Intervention Model (IMIM)
Incident Management/Intervention Model. Text version below.
Incident Management/Intervention Model - Text version

The visual representation of the Incident Management Intervention Model is a concentric layered wheel that represents the rapidly evolving and dynamic nature of police work, as well as the continuous requirement on the police officer to evaluate the level of risk for the given situation.

At the centre is the police officer in the given situation, using the CAPRA (Clients, Acquire & Analyze, Partners, Response, and Assessment) problem solving model. The circle builds outwards helping the officer form a proper risk assessment.

The layers of the wheel from the center are:

  1. Situational Factors: reflect that situational factors are continuously changing and affecting all of the events and actions of a given police intervention.
  2. Subject Behaviours: subject behaviours progress, from the lowest level to the highest as follows;
    1. Cooperative
    2. Passive Resistant
    3. Active Resistant
    4. Assaultive
    5. Grievous Bodily Harm or Death
  3. Tactical Considerations & Repositioning: is often available to a police officer in any given situation.
  4. Intervention Options: intervention options blend from one to another as there are various levels of each, and their availability to be used can cross levels of "Subject Behaviour" given the totality of a situation. The intervention options depicted on the graphic are:
    1. Officer Presence: is the first police intervention, as an officer needs to be present to have impact on the given situation
    2. Communication: is always required, in different forms, throughout a police intervention.
    3. Physical Control: is broken down further into "Soft Physical Control" and "Hard Physical Control" depending on the subject behaviour.
    4. Intermediate Weapons: this intervention overlaps with "Physical Control". There are various levels and options available in this category.
    5. Lethal Force: this intervention overlaps with "Officer Presence," "Communication," "Physical Control Hard," and "Intermediate Weapons." "Lethal Force" aligns with when the subject behaviour is "Grievous Bodily Harm or Death."
  5. Crisis Intervention & De-escalation: CID is the goal of all police interactions, and is a tool available to a member throughout an interaction, regardless of the seriousness or risk.

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.

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:

  1. The primary duty of a peace officer is to preserve and protect life
  2. The primary objective of any intervention is public safety
  3. Peace officer safety is essential to public safety
  4. The IMIM is consistent with federal statute law and common law authorities and in no way replaces or augments the law
  5. 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
  6. Risk assessment is a continuous process and risk management must evolve as situations change

The assessment process

The process of assessing an incident involves:

  1. the situational factors
  2. the subject behaviours
  3. the officer's perception
  4. 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:

Tactical considerations

  • 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

Situational factors

  • weather
  • time of day
  • location
  • number of people present compared to number of police officers present

Subject behavior

  • cooperative
  • active or passive resistant
  • assaultive
  • 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:

Officer presence

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

Physical control

  • 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

Intermediate weapons

This includes options like OC spray, conducted energy weapons, extended range impact weapons, and batons

Lethal force

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.

Date modified: