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Effective Conflict Management and Emotional Fitness

Posted in Uncategorized on October 24th, 2015 by Chris – Be the first to comment

Dealing with challenging/aggressive individuals.
Effective Conflict Management

Can Conflict management be acquired on a one day training course? This simple answer is No. At best all a one day course can provide you with is a tool box to go out and practice with whenever the opportunity arrives to resolve a challenging confrontational situation.

Emotional Fitness.
To resolve conflict effectively you need to be able to approach the challenge with a positive state of mind. You need to be Emotional fit.

As we develop we acquire habits some will be good habits (positive) whilst others will be bad (negative). This is an area which is often overlooked during many Conflict Resolution training courses

Just think about this for a moment. How effective do you think you would be if you were not feeling good about yourself whilst experiencing a challenging confrontation. Equally how effective would you be if you did not feel good about the other person.
To deal effectively with challenging behaviour you need the following.

• Knowledge: E.g. .the knowledge to identify triggers in self and others
• Skill: The ability to deal with these triggers in self and others.
• Desire: The willingness to change any bad habits.

Without the desire nothing will change and the individual will get what they have always got when engaged in a confrontational situation.

This element of emotional fitness is often overlooked in most Conflict Resolution training courses (even in the nationally accredited competency tested training courses). This I find surprising when you consider the resent research carried out by NICE identified that over 67% of assaults on NHS staff committed by patients were a direct result of the initial conflict being badly addressed by their own staff.

Logically then if the issue of emotional fitness is not addressed during any Conflict Resolution training then only 33% of the training will be effective.

An emotionally unfit person is much more likely to re-act in a negative way rather than to respond in a positive way. The former is a reaction which comes from our reptile brain whilst the latter is a reaction which stems from our intelligent brain.

An individual who is efficient at handling conflict will always be engaging their intelligent brain, and thus able to access their own “tool box”

In my subsequent articles I will be looking more closely at Emotional Unfitness, how to identify this in self and other and control measures to address this issue.

We will also have a look at the tool that can be acquired through good Conflict
Management training to effective handle an escalating conflict situation.

Travel Safe Personal Safety Advice from Brooks Jordan Training

Posted in current affairs, personal safety, street survival tips, Uncategorized on February 4th, 2014 by Chris – 2 Comments

Last time we wrote about staying safe when travelling by car this post we’ll focus on the do’s and don’ts of taking taxis.

Most people will only take a taxi when for some reason they can’t use another form of transport either because it’s not convenient for public transport or having had a drink, driving would be illegal and probably unsafe as well.

So let’s think about the combination of factors which can add to the risk of taking a taxi –

  • You’ve had a drink and so may not be as clear or focussed as you would be when sober
  • It’s dark, it may also be raining and hence passers-by are less likely to observe you, the vehicle you get in to and certainly not the taxi driver.
  • You’re getting in to closed box that can take you pretty much anywhere with a complete stranger.

All of this adds up to a perfect storm of risk for the unprepared or the unwary.
So how can you make taking a taxi safer?

  • The best protection you can have is to travel with friends – remember the old adage ‘safety in numbers’. Not only does this reduce the cost it’s unlikely a lone driver will try anything with a group of you.
  • Speak to your Student Union. Usually they can recommend a cab firm or may have an agreement with a local firm to take student’s home even if they have run out of cash (more on this later).
  • Use the recommended firm and book your taxi well ahead of time. Ask who will be collecting you and give a name to the firm so you know it really is your driver when the cab turns up.
  • Before you get in ask who they have come to collect – check it is your cab.
  • Ask the driver for his details

Get on your phone (or pretend to) and ring someone – your conversation goes like this –

You – ‘Hi Dad, (Dave). Yes I’m just leaving now, yes of course it’s a proper firm – its (give name of firm).

Pause to listen – imagine Dave (or your Dad) asking you for the name of the driver.

You – ‘The driver?’  Turn to the driver.  ‘Sorry it’s my Dad (boyfriend) he wants to know your name and number’.

At this point the driver should give you his name.

You – ‘The driver’s name is Pete and his number is KH54DEY.  Yes I’ll be about 15 minutes.’

Turning to the taxi driver ‘Pete I’m really sorry about that – my Dad (Dave) does the doors and he’s just over protective’.

Now – instead of thinking you’re an easy victim in a locked moving box, your driver thinks there’s someone at your destination expecting you to arrive within 15 minutes and that person has all the details they will need to alert the Police if you don’t turn up at the appointed time.

So you’ve run out of money and don’t have the fare to get home – now what do you do?
Sheffield Hallam Union have a great scheme. With one of their approved firms you can hand over your Student Union card in lieu of payment. The next day the taxi driver takes the card to the Union who pay your fare. You get a message from the Union to come in to collect your card and pay what is owed in return for your card. Maybe your Union has a similar scheme – why not call in and find out.

Want to know more about Personal Safety courses for Students from Brooks Jordan? Speak to us on 01623 407793 or visit our website at www.brooksjordan.co.uk for more safety tips or to book training.


Follow Brooks Jordan on Twitter for the next Travel Safe installment on taking public transport.

Council staff attack figure shock –Report by Natalie Crockett 27 December 2010

Posted in current affairs, Uncategorized on January 13th, 2011 by Chris – 1 Comment

A Teacher who was stabbed in the chest with a pen by a pupil is one of more than 600 recorded attacks on Gwent council staff in the past two years.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show 632 recorded physical attacks on members of staff across the five Gwent councils including Newport, Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly.
Many of the attacks were on teachers, but there was no breakdown of the exact figures for the attacks on them.
Physical attacks ranged from head butts, punches, bites and kicks, mainly carried out by pupils towards teachers, the worst of which involved a teacher being stabbed in the chest with a pen by a pupil.
Dominic MacAskill, head of local government at public sector union UNISON said councils needed to continue working with the trade unions to put in place better health and safety protocols to protect front line workers and ensure that incidents were minimised.
He added: “Health and safety of public servants cannot be compromised even in this age of austerity.”
All the local authorities told the Argus violence or threats to their staff was unacceptable and staff safety is seen as of paramount importance.
Read More about attacks on Local government staff at: http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/8758800.Council_staff_attack_figure_shock/
Protecting Council employees from attacks of Violence & Aggression
Shock at attacks on council’s staff

Northampton Chronicle 03.Jan 2011

Members of the public were violent or aggressive towards staff from Northampton Borough Council more than 80 times in the past 20 months, latest figures have revealed.
The statistics, which have been obtained by the Chronicle & Echo using the Freedom of Information Act, show that between April 2009 and December 2010, a total of 86 reports of violence or aggression against council staff were recorded.
In response, the council banned six members of the public from entering council offices and one person was given an ASBO.
Read more about attacks on council staff at:
Attacks on council staff are revealed by the Journal Jan 4 2011
More than 1,500 council workers a year are attacked in the North East, new figures reveal. On average more than five members of staff, including traffic wardens, teachers and care workers, are physically or verbally attacked in the North East every day.
And union leaders have raised fears that attacks could become more common as the public feels the pressure of the recession and council cuts lead to fewer staff on the job.
There were 5,019 attacks across the councils between the start of 2008 and October this year.
The information includes workers from all departments of councils. Attacks include physical violence, threats racist abuse and sexual assault.
Members of staff were stabbed, punched, kicked, bitten and hit by thrown objects.
Many of the attacks were carried out by children in care or adults with care needs, others by members of the public.
Although asked for the information by The Journal, in many cases councils were not able to say whether arrests had been made or charges brought.
Among the many attacks on teachers was a member of staff whose nose was broken by a pupil in an attack in 2009.
In Northumberland in June 2009, a worker in a children’s home was head-butted in the mouth, causing a split gum, while a colleague was slapped by the same resident.
“There’s a danger that these types of incidents increase, as increased unemployment and poverty inevitably results in increased violence. We feel some of our workers will be more exposed as a result.

Read More about these assaults on Council staff and teachers at: http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-east-news/todays-news/2011/01/04/attacks-on-council-staff-are-revealed-61634-27929740/#ixzz1AYfNvGSk

200 attacks on Town Hall staff By: Terry Kelly South Shield Gazette 8 Jan 2011
Over 200 council workers in South Tyneside have been physically attacked over the last three years, new figures have revealed.
A senior councillor today condemned those assaulting staff and called for the courts to punish those responsible.

Many of the incidents involved care cases, but council bosses said they are taking a “zero tolerance” stance to the problem and aim to protect all their employees from physical and verbal attacks.

Other figures reveal that more than 1,500 council workers are attacked across North East England every year, with the total number over the last three years amounting to 5,019 attacks.

The safety and wellbeing of our staff is of paramount importance and we have robust policies, procedures and training sessions covering violence at work, lone working and personal safety.

“It is important to note that a large proportion of these incidents occurred as part of the care services the council provides, which are often to people with challenging behaviours.”

Read full sorry the attacks on town hall staff at:

Brooks Jordan response to violence and aggression towards Council workers
Addressing Personal safety/Conflict Resolution issues for Council employees
People have a right to be angry especially in the current economic climate.
Current cuts in Local Authority spending are causing anger to many people (including Council workers) and most people put the blame for this squarely on the Banking Industry see article below:
New poll reveals depth of outrage at bankers’ bonuses
Report by: Anushka Asthana, the Observer

Three in four think banks are still not properly regulated and want payout cap

Public outrage at bankers’ bonuses is revealed in a poll that finds wide support for a cap on payouts and tighter regulation of financial institutions.
A YouGov poll reveals the extent of public anger at City excess. It finds that 76% of people would support a cap on bonuses, that 59% support windfall taxes on bankers’ bonuses, and that 60% want the tax to be extended to those working in hedge funds and ¬private equity houses.
Politicians said today’s polling showed the true extent of public anger and revealed support for “wholesale reform” of the financial sector. Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham, called on the government to bring in the reforms. “It is popular and it is the right thing to do,” he said.
Ruth Lea, economic adviser to the Arbuthnot Banking Group, said it was little surprise that the public was unsympathetic to the banks. She said that workers in Redcar in the north-east, where the local steelworks are being mothballed, were furious that so much was spent saving the banks. The “sense of unfairness hits you between the eyes”, she added.
Read full article at:
There’s a risk that health and safety risk assessments and Personal Safety /Conflict Management training will come under pressure with the cuts that are taking place
For instance where there needs to be two staff going out on home visits or trade inspections inspections, with the scale of the cuts there’s a worry there will be less commitment and emphasis on this resulting in a return to more Lone working.
As previously stated people have every right to be angry, but do not have a right to be hostile, abusive or behave violently.
Research by the NHS security Management as shown that good Conflict Resolution training can dramatically reduce the instances of violence against their staff and the introduction of their National Syllabus on this.
For more information on this go to:

Local Authorities have now even more responsibility to protect their staff with the introduction of the Equalities Act 2010.
• Harassment: behaviour deemed offensive by the recipient. Employees can claim they find something offensive even when it’s not directed at them.
• Harassment by a third party: employers are potentially liable for the harassment of staff or customers by people they don’t directly employ, such as a contractor.
Under this legislation Harassment is defined as any incident which occurs more than once and the Harassment does not have to be committed by the same person.
So if an employee is subjected to some form of Harassment and the employer fails to put into place some form of control measure after they become aware of this they could be in breach of this legislation.
There is now also the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

This new legislations enables enforcement agencies to hold Chief Executives & Managing Directors responsible for gross negligence if they fail to protect their staff and the first prosecution under this legislation is soon to come before the courts.
For details go to: http://www.healthandsafetytips.co.uk/Articles/Corporate_Manslaughter_The_First_Case.htm
For more details of Personal Safety & Lone Working training go to: www.brooksjordan.co.uk
For current training courses on:
Personal Safety, Conflict Resolution/Management, Physical Intervention Techniques & other relevant training courses go to: www.brooks-jordan.com or www. brooksjordan.co.uk

Risk Assessment & Dynamic Risk Assessments for the protection of lone workers.

Posted in conflict resolution, managing violence & aggression, personal safety, street survival tips, Uncategorized on December 28th, 2010 by Chris – 2 Comments

Employers are by required by Health & Safety legislation and other supporting legislation to assess the risk of violence as they would any other workplace related potential hazard. This is the beginning or staring point of an objective process that includes control measures; included in this is training.
As well as assessing the risk regarding violence in the context of health and safety,
organisations must assess risk in the context of the services provided and consider all relevant related legislation and guidelines. The threat of violence must be mitigated as far as possible

There are two main types of risk assessment to assess the risk of violence
(1) Pre-Planned (2) unplanned normally referred to as Dynamic Risk Assessment

(1) Planned Assessment (carried out prior to duties being performed)
A planned assessment should be undertaken and reviewed at set intervals in accordance with the organisations policies on risk assessments by designated individuals. It is important that employers clearly set out who is responsible and what level of assessment is required, how and when these should be carried out.

Recording systems and tools need to be identified to support the process and they
must be effective in identifying and distributing key information to management and all relevant staff in relation to the risks of violence and where necessary should be evidence based.

Any need for further improvements, control measures or risk assessments should be recorded and the necessary time schedules for this recorded.
It is also essential to analyse reported incidents including any near misses, and to identify common events and how often they occur.

Planned (static) risk assessments, must include the following:

 All Incident reports including near misses and threats & trends
 Policies/procedures and role expectations
 Environmental/situational risk factors
 Tasks activities & any high risk duties performed by the staff etc
 The Root causes behind the event and any other relevant information
 Service user and any other bystanders considerations.

One of the UK’s top Health & Safety litigation barristers uses just 4 questions when deciding if there is a case to answer:

(1) Could the risk have been foreseen ?
(2) Where policies & Procedure put in place ?
(3) Were training needs identified and carried out ?
(4) Did the staff respond as they had been trained too ?

If a negative answer is given to any of the above then someone is liable and litigation will follow.

Dynamic risk assessment (carried out whilst performing duties)

A situations can develop suddenly usually by unexpected circumstances and an accurate dynamic situational risk assessment may have to be conducted on the spot.
Staff in these circumstances need to act in a way that they could legally & morally justify
They will need to make an immediate assessment of the situation and may have to employ escape tactics.
This is why good personal safety training is important staff should have been trained and provided with the necessary tools to make a safe retreat.
Research as established that when violence as occurred it was established that it was the individual staff members response that escalated the situation.

Example of a pre-planned & dynamic risk assessment

An health visitor is requested to make an home visit on an elderly lady (Lone working situation)

A planned risk assessment is carried out which identifies the following:

The lady is in her eighties and lives alone in a respectable rural county village
A check with on the critical incident register identifies no previous issues related to this property so this is rated as a low risk situation.

However the member of staff later visits the lady and the door is answered by a young untidy looking man who reluctantly lets the health visitor in.

The elderly lady identifies the young man as her nephew who is just visiting and goes on to say she had not seen him for many years prior to him turning up without any warning.

The heath visitor having been trained in personal safety & conflict resolution recognises the Warning signs being demonstrated by the young man and carries out a dynamic risk assessment.

The health worker has also been trained in breakaway skills and knows the importance of keeping her exits routes clear, maintaining a good reaction gap, and being pre-pared to use a pre- programmed response if the situation changers, e.g she starts to witness Danger signs

The pre-programmed response could be some-thing as simple as making an excuse to return to her vehicle for example claiming she need to go and get a benefit form from the car.

The use of any physical breakaway skills should only be used as a last result when all other forms of diffusion have been applied and failed.

Post critical incident debrief & review

All near miss incidents provide valuable learning enabling staff & management to evaluate the risk assessments control measures.
Staff should be encouraged to see every situation as a leaning experience (e.g No such thing as failure only feedback)
This particularly important in incidents involving conflict resolution and diffusions techniques e.g How could we do this better next time ?


An effective work related violence risk assessment is the key factor to a successful violence prevention strategy

 Planned risk assessments are the main starting position s and are necessary for the establishing good/effective control measures
 Certain duties and job specific activities carry inherent risks should be identified within the risk assessment process to reduce the risk of violence
 Dynamic risk assessment training will help staff to respond appropriately to a developing situation and minimise the risk of escalation into violence etc
 Incidents and near misses need to be professionally monitored & assessed to ensure personal support and identify any further training needs
 Enquiries need to concentrate on the Root cause
 An effective training programme needs to be put in place incorporating all available risk assessment data and should be continually monitored

Frequently asked questions about Conflict Management

Posted in Uncategorized on July 23rd, 2010 by Chris – Be the first to comment

Question: Is the Police Conflict Resolution syllabus suitable for other professions?

Answer: Essentially no, the police conflict resolution syllabus is designed by the police for police personnel who have the advantage of being able to call upon backup and support in the event that a situation escalates. When dealing with violence and aggression or managing conflict the police are able to use a baton, quick cuffs, incapacity spray and can call for assistance if needed.

Now consider the resources available to the local authority enforcement officer; although most will have a mobile phone at their disposal, the likelihood of a rapid response team being dispatched to help an individual manage conflict or deal with violence and aggression is remote. It is for this reason that conflict resolution training needs to be carefully sourced and matched to the needs of the staff on the ground.

Brooks Jordan conflict resolution courses are specifically designed to help staff understand what triggers violence and how to avoid, diffuse, or manage conflict before it can escalate in to violence or aggression. We know non police agencies have fewer options at their disposal in the event of violence and aggression so we give you more practical advice and training in diffusion techniques to help counter problems staff meet when performing day to day tasks.

Question: Will learning martial arts make me better at conflict management?
Answer: The simple answer is Yes & No

Martial arts training will certainly make you fitter, stronger and give you the skills and confidence to handle a conflict situation better should it becomes physical. However the problem with most martial arts is that they don’t actually teach conflict resolution skills. As most martial arts are sports they don’t actually teach conflict resolution skills but concentrate instead on teaching physical skills. So although you might spend years becoming proficient in martial arts techniques, this level of training is more than most people actually need to perform work duties proficiently. Moreover most people carrying out professional duties do not want to get into situation where they need to fight to subdue another individual, most want to be able to talk a situation down and to avoid conflict in the first place.

Research carried out by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) found that individuals given training in basic breakaway skills were also more confident when dealing with angry people and were able to continue to communicate for longer and thus able to talk a situation down better than those who had only received conflict resolution training.

A good conflict management course should therefore take in the bigger picture and include the following elements;

• Dynamic risk assessment prior to, during and after a critical incident.
• An appreciation of the law in relation to self-defence & personal safety.
• Conflict resolution and diffusion skills including practicing verbal & non verbal techniques to calm an aggressor.
• Training on awareness and instinct.
• Tactical escape & disengagement/breakaway skills training
• Dealing with the aftermath; critical incident reporting and review of procedures.

Brooks Jordan can deliver this and more. The City and Guilds syllabus provides a framework for training together with a qualification which establishes that staff who pass the exam have reached the necessary level of competence to manage violence and aggression competently.
Additionally there is sufficient flexibility in the programme to enable us to design training specifically geared to meet the needs of the contracting organisation. With nearly fifteen years experience in designing and delivering Personal Safety & Conflict Resolution training, you can be confident that by employing Brooks Jordan you are buying in real expertise from a team that have an easy, confident style of delivery combined with direct personal experience of managing violence and aggression.

An adapted version of the Brooks Jordan Personal Safety and Conflict Resolution programme is now incorporated in to the National Association of Licensing Enforcement Officers (NALEO) CPD professional training programme and is accredited with BTEC as a Level 5 award.

Personal Safety in the UK today

Posted in conflict resolution, current affairs, managing violence & aggression, personal safety, Uncategorized on June 26th, 2010 by Chris – Be the first to comment

How safe are we from gun crime?. Peter Hitchens excellent article below examines some of the issues after the latest rampage in Cumbria.
Perhaps Derrick Bird’s deadly rampages aren’t so ‘inexplicable’ after all
Yet another gun massacre is followed by yet another typhoon of psychobabble,
sentiment and bogus declarations that ‘this must never happen again’, when everyone knows that it will.
It’s difficult to argue for tighter gun laws, since they’re already so tight, though I’m sure the authorities will think of something suitably irrelevant and futile, as they did after Hungerford and Dunblane.
They are determined to make sure nobody in this country is armed, apart from criminals and terrorists, the invariable effect of ‘tough’ gun laws that trouble only the law-abiding and have no impact on illegally held weapons at all. read more »

Personal Safety awareness training

Posted in conflict resolution, managing violence & aggression, personal safety, street survival tips, Uncategorized on November 30th, 2009 by Chris – Be the first to comment

Codes of Awareness

Jeff Cooper developed the Codes of Awareness concept back in the 1960’s and today we think nothing of describing someone as switched on (or switched off) without being aware of where the terms came from.

Jeff Cooper was looking for ways to help military personnel be prepared for and ready to take appropriate action whatever their circumstances. He developed the traffic light analogy to help explain this.

Switched Off – Code White

Someone who is switched off doesn’t even register on the traffic light scale – being switched off is only appropriate in your own home or in a secure environment where you know it is safe to let your guard down. Being oblivious to your surroundings when you are out in the street can put you at risk from an opportunist looking for an easy target.

Code Green – Attentive but relaxed

The next level of awareness is where most of us should be most of the time. This is the level of awareness needed for normal everyday living – for example knowing when and how to cross the road – being aware of your environment but not hyper-vigilant.

Code Amber – Attention raised for perceived threat.

You should be at a slightly higher level of awareness when you anticipate going in to a risky situation – for example working alone in an area you don’t know well or visiting the home of someone for the first time.
Code Red – There is a real threat.

At this point in the awareness scale you need to take evasive action. This is the point when you acknowledge that the person confronting you actually intends to do you some harm. For some it can be very difficult to acknowledge that physical assault is about to happen. This is fight or flight time.

If your attention was properly focussed when you went in to the unknown ‘code amber’ situation you would have spotted the potential danger before it became a real threat. If you are unfortunate enough to have to fight your way out of a situation – be prepared to make the pre-emptive strike.

Certain jobs or experiences will make some people more alert to their environment – being in the police, the military, a doorman or in the licensed trade is more likely to make you alert to the potential risks of your environment and thus more ready to respond if something happens.

The person most likely to be right at the top of the awareness scale is the criminal – being hyper-vigilant when they are about to carry out a criminal act means they are less likely to get caught. You may recognise this behaviour as unusual.