Blue Line

Lunney – Three H Policing

October 5, 2011  By Robert Lunney

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Decoding Policing:  

Head, Heart and Hand 

by Robert Lunney, Chief of Police (Ret.)


Contemporary policing systems consist of three elements: Intelligence-led policing; Community Policing; and Policing Capacity. Think of it as a mantra: Head, Heart and Hand. The ability to fuse together these three elements represents a crucial challenge to police leadership today.


Intelligence-Led Policing (ILP) is a strategy for targeting offenders, managing hotspots of crime and disorder, exploring linkages between serious crimes and incidents and applying preventive measures.  Analytics enable predictive tactics with the potential to prevent crime. All forms of investigation including forensics are basic to ILP. The strategies of ILP are associated with professionalism and an expert work force.  ILP responds directly to serious crime and disorder and includes criminal intelligence. 


Community Oriented Policing (COP) is the core philosophy of policing in a democracy. The principles of COP are the vital center, motive force and spirit of policing and the dynamic on which other strategies play. Front line officers engage the public, develop relationships and partnerships and constantly scan for anomalies. They identify threats to safety, solve community problems and provide reassurance and fear reduction. Community policing is the cradle for cultivating and shaping the art and craft of policing, and the vehicle for demonstrating humanity; transparency; a sense of justice; empathy; and compassion. These qualities build trust and confidence in the police. 


Methods and techniques are of no benefit without the means of carrying them out. Hand is the enabling capacity that invigorates and energizes, putting power and authority behind decision making.  Decision makers direct the deployment of all available resources towards prevention and driving down crime and disorder.  The levers of action are budgets, human resources, equipment, transportation, information systems, and facilities.


Cross-cutting activities connect Head, Heart and Hand. Problem Oriented Policing (POP) is a component of both community policing and intelligence-led policing. SARA (Scan; Analyze; Respond; Assess) and other problem-solving techniques are used to develop response strategies for both POP and ILP. Compstat is an accountability tool and a sub-set of ILP prompting quick response and accountability. Decision makers at all levels draw constantly on the enabling capacities of the service. 


The challenge for police leaders at all levels is to ensure the fusion of Head, Heart and Hand to provide seamless protective services, combining all policing strategies into a single discipline. The elements for success are: 

Unequivocal support for community policing 

Advancing information-led policing while blending in Compstat accountability

Assuring that the appropriate resources are assembled

Ensuring that organizational structures and systems contribute to achieving fusion

Communicating this blending of crime strategies and policing styles internally with clarity and commitment.

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