POLICE Principle


The Police Principle is a modern/modified first aid method of treating musculo-skeletal injuries. Traditionally, the first aid method of treating musculo-skeletal injuries has been taught through the Mnemonic, R.I.C.E, (Rest,Ice,Compress,Elevate.) and P.R.I.CE (Protection,Rest,Ice,Compress,Elevate)


Protect emphasizes the importance of avoiding further tissue damage, but doesn’t infer indefinite immobilization. This could mean using crutches to protect an injured lower extremity, while actively engaging in daily tasks. Protect could represent the appropriate amounts of rest to heal the injury as well.[1]

Optimal Loading

Optimal loading will stimulate the healing process as bone, tendon, ligament and muscle all require some loading to stimulate healing. Optimal loading is done by utilizing mechano-therapy intervention and includes a wide range of manual techniques currently available “Paradoxically, crutches, braces and supports, traditionally associated with rest, may have a greater role in adjusting and regulating optimal loading in the early stages of rehabilitation.”[1]

The right amount of activity can help manage swelling. For example in the ankle, contraction of the calf muscles helps to move swelling up the body against gravity. Complete rest would the prevent this.In some instances loading may not be necessary i.e. in severe fractures that need surgery.[2]

Ice - Compression - Elevation (ICE)



  1. 1.0 1.1 Bleakley CM, Glasgow P, MacAuley DC. PRICE needs updating, should we call the POLICE?. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2011 Sep 7:bjsports-2011.
  2. Glasgow P, Phillips N, Bleakley C. Optimal loading: key variables and mechanisms. British journal of sports medicine. 2015 Jan 6:bjsports-2014.