Posts Tagged 'policing'

Moving into policing – as a leader and a learner

maggie-blyth

Maggie Blyth

Maggie Blyth, author of some of our best-selling texts on children at risk has recently taken her extensive experience working in local and national government to a Direct Entry Superintendent role in the police. In this blog post, originally posted on Maggie’s own blog on 7 January, she talks about the experience so far. 

“A few weeks ago, after a lengthy application process, I became a police officer.

Not just a new job but a sweeping career change following 30 years immersed in another sector – formerly education, then youth justice, most latterly child protection. I feel deeply honoured to be entering a new career at the latter stage of my working life and to be joining a progressive police force, in such an important role, but I don’t underestimate the challenge ahead – for me it’s a two way process.

“I don’t underestimate the challenge ahead – for me it’s a two way process.”

Continue reading ‘Moving into policing – as a leader and a learner’

Police leaders and resignations

In 2008, Sir Ian Blair, then Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, resigned and there was a consequent sigh of relief throughout policing. He had clung to office for so long that his tenacity had become an embarrassment and that had threatened the public’s often fragile respect for the police. When Sir Paul Stephenson, Blair’s successor, resigned on Sunday 17 July, citing the ‘distraction’ which criticism of him would cause the Metropolitan Police, there was, by contrast, considerable dismay and regret. Actually, his action is typical of the man; his honesty and strong sense of public probity would not have allowed him to continue if he felt that he had himself become the story.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), known in policing as “the twenty/twenty hindsight brigade”, is investigating allegations against the former Commissioner, so it’s probably premature to come to any conclusions about the ethics of the relationship between police leaders and senior editorial staff at The News of the World, as it also may be about the wider question of newspapers paying police officers for information. Now Assistant Commissioner John Yates has also resigned (18th July), citing similar reasons to Sir Paul’s for his departure, after a week of heavy pressure and publicity. Two former chief officers at the Met, Andy Hayman and Peter Clarke, are also in the frame for the IPCC to look at.

This all seems to lend substance to media claims that policing is in crisis and that the police are led by inept, malign or naïve people. But there are some things we would do well to bear in mind: first, the Met is not the police. It likes to think it is sometimes, because it has some national roles, but policing is more than what happens in London. The second point is that policing goes on, whoever is at the top. Someone will step in and mind the shop, while the police go about their daily, routine, necessary and unglamorous tasks. The third point to make is that none of the allegations against any of the police leaders is yet proved and the cloud of speculation may be as evanescent as mist before sunrise.

The final point is this: when I did my research a year or so ago on chief police officers, what came across most strongly to me was that people at the top of policing cared very much about the image of the police and about how the public perceived them. It really matters to them that they are trusted and that people can rely on their fairness and neutrality. This relationship is not something that any good cop would willingly put at risk and we would be daft to join the current feeding frenzy engendered by the media and politicians – neither of which trades comes anywhere near policing in the public’s sense of moral worth.

Bryn Caless is the author of the forthcoming Policing at the top (September) which can be ordered at 20% discount here: http://www.policypress.co.uk/display.asp?K=9781447300151

Themes of book: Shoot to kill

Shoot to kill coverIn my book Shoot to kill: Police accountability, firearms and fatal force, I examine two main themes: firstly, what is accountability regarding police use of firearms? And secondly who has ownership of the policy “Kratos” on dealing with suicide bombers? Kratos involves the use of a critical head shot at point blank range, with hollow-point ammunition, and with multiple shots. There can only be one result – death; this is indisputably “shoot to kill”. Underlying this is a broader question – what does this imply about the future of policing in the UK?

In the past, police policy and practice in Britain was based on minimum force and avoidance of death. In 2005 the shooting at Stockwell station of the innocent man Jean Charles de Menezes revealed a seismic change in the philosophy and practice of firearms use and accountability. The Kratos policy effectively in use at Stockwell was formulated by ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers).

In the book, I argue that ACPO is an unaccountable quango and that use of fatal force should be in the public domain. Instead, there`s a conspiracy of silence from ACPO, the Home Office and government on this although it concerns the state`s use of fatal force against citizens. There is therefore an urgent need for transparency and clarity on this by locating ownership in parliamentary and public debate.

Maurice Punch, author of Shoot to Kill, publishing on 30 November 2011


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