Earlier this month, The Police Foundation published their final report of their strategic review of policing in England and Wales. As with the PEEL inspection reports, I advise police promotion candidates familiarise themselves with the content; particularly, those police officers aspiring to the more strategic rank of Inspector and above! However and like many reports into policing, this one is rather long (approaching 200 pages!). I therefore provide a visual summary and highlights in this blog to prompt your thinking and prepare you for forward-facing interview questions…
The Police Foundation Report – An Overview
The Police Foundation’s strategic review of policing is their flagship and wide-ranging report. Years in the making and drawing together a mix of evidence, you can download the March 2022 publication right here: A New Mode of Protection. Watch the video below for what the authors themselves described as “an excellent summary of our policing review“:
For context, The Police Foundation are a registered charity and describe themselves as “the UK’s policing think-tank”. They specialise in providing evidence-based reports and recommendations for improving UK policing. The Strategic Review of Policing is a multi-year research project which aims to provide a long-term national policing vision to meet the challenges of the 21st century. In effect, it pits policing’s strengths and weaknesses against the opportunities and threats presented.
As shown in my bespoke infographic below, their report is structured into four themes:
- The Challenge: This in effect sets out the VUCA world in which policing operates
- Policing in a System: Reimagining the core role of policing as part of a wider societal responsibility for crime- and harm-reduction
- Capabilities: Assesses issues and capabilities relating to legitimacy, people, technology, and leadership skills
- Organisation: Explores national structures, governance, and funding challenges and opportunities
The Peelian Principles feature strongly throughout the report. Robert Peel is quoted regularly, as the main thrust and authors’s contention is that policing and society is at such a critical juncture, similar in scale to when the UK model of ‘policing by consent’ was first organised and introduced nearly 200 years ago. Hence there are many radical proposals for change in this impactive report…
Controversial Recommendations for Policing?
“Policing is at a critical juncture. If it does not embrace reform it will likely be overwhelmed by the scale and complexity of the demands coming down the track.” – Report Conclusion
56 recommendations in total are provided by The Police Foundation authors within their Strategic Review of Policing. Some of these have been received to some controversy among both rank-and-file officers and the media/public alike. For example:
- Proposal to introduce a police ‘license to practice‘, linked to an officer’s CPD record and renewed every 5 years by the College of Policing
- Regionalise specialist support functions and rationalise/merge back-office support (akin to the Police Scotland model), to create significant savings for reinvestment
- Review police promotion processes in forces – always a hot topic among officers!
- Creation of workforce diversity targets, not just ambition to improve representation as part of police legitimacy
In my video above, I pick and summarise 22 recommendations which seem most relevant to officers and leaders among the Federated ranks. Many of these seem sensible, innovative, and would be very timely to meet common challenges facing policing. Some further key examples include:
- Formalise leadership support available for supervisors, especially at Sergeant and Inspector ranks
- Create designated work time for officer CPD and skills development
- Annual physical and mental health checks for officers, to more proactively manage wellbeing
- Significant reinvestment in neighbourhood policing, training, and police technology
- Encourage greater use of ‘evidence-based practice‘ (which might reduce what I call the ‘Pet Project Cemetery’ in my free Promotion Journey eGuide and map!)
John Sutherland, via his ‘Police Commander’ blog, provides some further useful perspectives and response to this new publication on policing.
Why is this Relevant to Promotion Candidates?
OK so someone wrote a report on policing, but why should you bother with such things?
Staying informed of national, regional, and local force picture of policing is important CPD for any leader, especially those seeking promotion to Inspector. Particularly when it comes to your own force strategies and PEEL assessments! Otherwise, how on Earth can you demonstrate what you can contribute and paint a brighter picture, with you leading the way?
Personally, you may indeed have your own views on such reviews, recommendations, or changes. As a promotion candidate, you might proactively share your view in an interview response or presentation scenario. See my ENAMEL interview response model for how you might discuss this briefly and conversationally in an interview response. It’s a great way of demonstrating your awareness of and interest in wider policing issues.
As a leader, it’s also important to anticipate how you might support your teams through such change, given people’s reactions to change, and developing your capabilities as an emotionally-aware promotion candidate.
Finally and also thinking about yourself as a police promotion candidate, such strategic awareness can help you anticipate and respond to potential interview questions and presentation scenarios, as I show in my summary video. For example:
- Describe what you see as the main challenges facing this force. As a new Sergeant / Inspector / Chief Inspector, how would you improve the public service we provide?
- How would you improve diversity and inclusion among your team?
- How will you effectively lead your teams ‘in the grey‘ and through times of uncertainty/change?
I hope you find this summary helpful on your journey to promotion. As I suggest in the video above, let me know if there are other important policing reports you’d like summarised in this way. Finally, I give thanks to The Police Foundation themselves, firstly for taking the time to check and ensure my video summary was an accurate representation of their detailed review, and secondly for their positive feedback on the video.
Kind Regards, Steve
If you found this blog helpful, you can hit the ground running with your promotion preparation. Get your personal digital promotion toolkit, attend or download my Police Promotion Masterclass, or contact me to arrange personal coaching support. If you first want to explore completely free content, I have a collection of videos, eGuides, a podcast, plus free blog content both here and via my Police Hour guest articles.