Policing Risk: Do Police Officers Have A Risk Type?

PCL have conducted Risk Type Compass assessments on thousands of individuals across a wide spectrum of job roles and significant ‘Risk Type’ variations between industries have emerged. This Case Study explores whether there is a particular Police Officers’ Risk Type.

We assessed 177 police officers and PCSOs of varying rank to determine if this was the case with the policing profession.

The below graph shows the distribution of police officers across each of the eight Risk Types and how they compare with the general population sample:

Individuals in the police sample were more likely to reside in the upper-right quadrant of the Compass, with Wary and Deliberate being the most prevalent. Whilst Deliberate is seen as the most prominent Risk Type with 35 individuals falling into this category, 15 of these individuals were part of the PCSO subsample, who only represented 19 of the study’s 177 total sample.

The least prevalent Risk Types in the sample were Composed and Adventurous.

An individual’s ‘risk strength’ (proximity to the perimeter of the compass graphic) is a reflection of how closely they will relate to that Risk Type description and it is notable that none of the Composed or Adventurous individuals fell into the strongest ‘strength 5’ category.


An individual’s Risk Type can facilitate targeted discussions around their personal approach and strategy, as well as about their contribution to a team. Interviews can be tailored to focus on the major strengths and challenges that candidates would encounter, allowing stressful components of the role to be identified and discussed.

Personal Development
Increasing an individual’s self-awareness of their Risk Type can allow coaching around the aspects of policing that provoke the most stress and anxiety. Personalised strategies can be developed for managing these occupational hurdles.

Team Dynamics
Insight into the interaction of individual Risk Types in a team context promotes discussion and understanding about issues like accountability, communication and decision-making. Teams with imbalanced Risk Types can learn to manage their actions in light of their Risk Type, and teams with a spread of Risk Types can learn to understand and interact with others more effectively.


When viewed in the context of the variety of demands placed on UK police forces, understanding Risk Type can provide a valuable dimension. In a high-paced, risky profession, decision making bias can have life and death implications and having an understanding of Risk Type on both an individual and team level can ensure safety and professionalism across the industry.