Predicting the future
Scenario planning as a tool for security and law enforcement organisations to anticipate unpredictable futures is a new approach to managing potential security threats.
Current research and policy documents indicate that future scenario planning is not widely practiced in these organisations; short term operational and tactical planning dominates policy and management.
Law enforcement organisations that do investigate longer-term futures, tend to develop future strategies based on past trends, but there are inherent problems that arise from using prediction as a strategy for determining how to mitigate future threats.
There are inherent problems that arise from using prediction as a strategy for determining how to mitigate future threats.
While success may be found predicting trends on a short-term basis, mid and long-term events are contingent on many interacting factors and prediction therefore becomes unreliable.
This inhibits the organisation’s capacity to anticipate future security incidents in an effective and flexible manner.
An alternative solution
Scenario planning offers an alternative solution to this issue.
The usefulness of the technique is not dependent on the likelihood of the scenarios coming true, but the opportunity for security and law enforcement organisations to set flexible strategies to deal with them.
It is the development of a flexible response that marks the success of this technique.
The scenario planning approach offers an accessible alternative to the more established prediction thinking to enhance the capacity of organisations to detect, anticipate and mitigate future security threats.
By following the steps in this report officers will be able to:
- imagine a variety of possible unknown future security threat scenarios
- undertake a holistic analysis of those possible scenarios
- strategically plan for the inconceivable.
This report introduces ways to create future scenarios as conditions for such practising and experimentation.