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Critical Incident Management in Criminal Justice


Scenario Based Planning is the widely used technique in the sphere of business planning and management. Originally, this tool was invented for military organizations, and now it is also extensively used by Criminal Justice and Security organizations. This technique is of great importance for police officers and criminal justice workers, and seriously influences the effectiveness of judicial performance.

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The Role of Scenario-Based Planning and Training

To begin with it is necessary to emphasize that scenario planning is the type of strategic planning which is used for creating long-term plans. In general it is the adaptation of the generalization of classic methods, which had been used by military intelligence bodies, and later were adapted for the criminal justice and security organizations. (Wimshurst, 2007) This method is used by analysts, who incorporate several sources of data, and combine data on the matters of demographics, geography, military, political and industrial information, and mineral reserves, with particular possible social, technical and political trends.

Scenario planning generally entails the elements which are hard to formalize, as it often includes subjective interpretation of facts, shifts of estimations and new regulations or inventions. Originally, the role of this strategy for the criminal justice sphere may be estimated from the point of view of individual approach towards the interpretation of the facts. Surely, it may be not objective; however, it is the best tool for planning and analyzing events. (Kent, 2000)

These scenarios describe the context of events, incidents, or circumstances when the information is intended for the exchange between agencies and criminal structure organizations. Thus, scenario may be an appearing of serial murderer in some particular region; consequently, thorough elaboration of the plan may help to define the weak and powerful points of the maniac capturing operation, and this information may be shared among several agencies for the effective prevention of the possible mistakes. Scenarios are often used for depicting informational exchange practices among the organizations and bodies of the criminal justice structure, thus, these techniques are used to identify the gaps, impediments and flaws in business processes and data exchange. (Champion, 2004)

Real Examples of Scenario-Based Panning

The real examples of this strategy are often used in the education process, as there is strong necessity to assure the public that the graduates and the police officers have consistent educational level, and to confirm the professional status of law enforcement officials. The Scenario Based planning is used for guaranteeing the Criminal Justice Standards.

After graduation of specialized training courses in North Carolina Police Corps Academy, the officers are training to use the Scenario-based strategies, and perform the security operations grounded on the previously elaborated scenarios. The fact is that this training provides opportunities for the trainee to realize his or her potential ‑ both physical and mental. The Academy education promotes the North Carolina Basic Law Enforcement Training requirements and trains the cadet for community patrol. After graduation from the Academy, the Police Corps officer will begin the four-year service period with their assigned agency (Steinberg, 2001).

Popularity of the Scenario-Based planning is explained by the fact that the world has become more complex and at the same time there are ever larger elements of ignorance or unfamiliarity observed all over the world. As security issues tend to globalize, it puts the typical large business in the position of dealing with citizens, criminals, cultural, social, governmental, and economic factors different from the ones that they are most familiar and comfortable with. Scenarios come to the rescue. They are educational, and integrative in dealing with the complex new factors. (Van der Heijden, 2002)

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Influence of Scenario Based Planning

The influence of this technique on the allover performance of the duties by Criminal Justice and Security organizations is immense. Originally, it helps to train the standard actions and activities, increase the proficiency level, and improve the decision making processes. Scenario-based planning is generally not applied on the routine basis; consequently, it may help to improve the individual approach towards solving any particular problem.

Scenario-based planning promotes the consolidation of Strategic environmental assessment within the Criminal Justice and Security organizations. It strengthens the information flows on the structural and inter – organizational levels, and essentially enhances the external participation in the planning processes


Scenarios are generally used in business and governmental planning. These planning technique is used for numerous aims, however, the central one is the increase of the proficiency level of the Crime Justice and Security workers of the governmental security structure. The popularity of this technique is featured by numerous factors, however, usage of scenarios can not be applied on the standard basis, as this tool requires particular approach for any decision-making process. Originally, the fact of using scenarios is often mentioned in the educational and training programs, which are implemented in Police Academies.


Champion, D. J. (2004). A Criminal Justice Sourcebook A Criminal Justice Sourcebook. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Free, M. D. (Ed.). (2003). Racial Issues in Criminal Justice: The Case of African Americans. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Kent, K. D. (2000). Basic Rights and Anti-Terrorism Legislation: Can Britain’s Criminal Justice (Terrorism and Conspiracy) Act 1998 Be Reconciled with Its Human Rights Act? Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, 33(1), 221.

Steinberg, A. (2001). The Transformation of Criminal Justice, North Carolina. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

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Van der Heijden et al. (2002). The sixth sense: accelerating organizational learning with scenarios. West Sussex, U.K.: John Wiley and Sons.

Walker, S. (1993). Taming the System: The Control of Discretion in Criminal Justice, 1950-1990. New York: Oxford University Press.

Wimshurst, K., & Allard, T. (2007). Criminal Justice Education, Employment Destinations and Graduate Satisfaction. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 40(2), 218.

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