I began my Police Promotion and Leadership podcast simply to discuss concepts more at length and provide additional free content for aspiring UK police officers. The reach has gone well beyond the UK in the year or so since I started, which has been both astounding and humbling. I’m glad the policing and leadership concepts resonate around the world, with hundreds of listeners already in An Garda Síochána, across over 30 US states, Canada, South America, around Europe, the Middle and Far East, and even as far flung as Australia and New Zealand according to my broad Spotify stats… wow!
I’ve been regularly delivering police-related training in London over the last few years. While there, I took the opportunity to interview a former Met Police Commander and fellow trainer to garner his views. Simon Foy QPM has had an extensive and illustrious 30+ year police career. This has included leading the Metropolitan Police Homicide Command and receiving the Queens Police Medal in 2009 for distinguished service to policing. Simon kindly agreed to share his views around the topic of promotion and leadership in the police service. Thankfully, he also agreed to being recorded!
Here’s the resulting trilogy of interviews recorded on the fly, on my phone, when we had the chance to meet up. I hope you find them informative to your CPD and generally interesting as a professional cop…
“Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate.” – Hubert Humphrey
Interview 1: Myriad of Musings on Police Promotion & Ranks (59 mins)
“The biggest jump you’ll ever make is from PC to Sergeant.” – Simon Foy QPM
I first interviewed Simon as our post-“retirement” careers crossed paths in London last year delivering training. This interview forms Episode 15 of Season 1, ‘Year of the Ox’, and did not disappoint. Drawing upon his rich and varied policing career across many ranks, Simon kindly agreed to share some of his insights, thoughts and reflections, all focused around the subject of converting UK police leadership aspiration into promotion success.
Spanning 59 minutes, he provides some great tips for those aspiring to progress their careers. Whether this is via promotions, or simply if wanting to develop general police leadership skills. In our conversation. Simon answers questions on police leadership, achieving promotion, and the value of police promotion assessments and interviews. He also provides his observations on the jumps between the Federated ranks, including the step up to Sergeant; this is the rank he describes as the biggest jump to make in police leadership.
In addition, diversity, equality and inclusion, learning from setbacks, and wider reflections about what it means to be a leader all feature in this podcast. I particularly liked his summary of three key points to success: Know yourself, learn from experience, and prepare properly.
As always with my podcasts, you have many ways to listen. For example, ask your Alexa or similar device to “play the Rank Success podcast”. Alternatively, use your favourite podcasting app or simply just press play on the embedded links below…
Interview 2: Leading at the Inspector Rank and Beyond (44 mins)
“Ask yourself the questions: What is this about? And how does it fit within the bigger picture?” – Simon Foy QPM
Following extensive positive feedback on our first interview, I quickly took the opportunity to pick Simon’s brain again. I had the opportunity when our paths crossed again in London in late 2021. In this episode we discuss a range of matters again, with a focus on leading at the Inspector rank and beyond.
We discussed stepping up to Chief Inspector, plus the relevance of fast-track; both are subject I’ve blogged about before. Plus you might also find it helpful to view my bespoke infographic of the pushes and pulls at Superintendent. Simon shares in this podcast insights relevant to both fast-track and non-fast-track candidates alike.
Simon approaches the subject of and describes the importance of understanding the bigger picture, and then applying that into operational practice. Using the example of protests, he describes the importance of police leaders being able to get an operational grip, while also understanding the wider role of police in our ‘policing by consent’ model.
At the time, I was also compiling my series of articles on supporting women in police leadership, challenges faced, and underrepresentation. He kindly and carefully broached this question I sprung upon him, gently noting with the clear disclaimer that it’s hard for men to truly understand the female perspective. However, he shares some valuable insights from his previous experience on interview panels, working with inspiring women police leaders, and other thoughts for listeners to ponder. This included thoughts on what forces can better do to support the progression of women through the police ranks. Mentoring featured highly in this.
We also discuss some of the the CPD required as you cross the rubicon to more strategic leadership police ranks. Simon eloquently describes the skills needed and changes expected as you go up through the ranks. This includes for example the ability to consider the bigger picture in operational delivery. Mentoring is discussed at length as a support mechanism in this context; including the importance of choosing and how to choose your mentor carefully.
Interview 3: Strategic Review of Policing
“Anyone with an interest in policing should read it… for anybody with any sort of leadership responsibility in policing, it’s compulsory.” – Simon Foy QPM
I once again interviewed the ever-eloquent Simon Foy QPM in early April 2022. This forms Episode 8 of my ‘Year of the Tiger’ series. The somewhat controversial Strategic Review of Policing report had recently been published. So this time, Simon provides a detailed review, constructive critique, and discusses the implications of the Police Foundation’s recent report.
This report is one I recently summarised on my YouTube channel for police officers (described by the Police Foundation themselves as “an excellent summary”). Simon emphasises the report’s significance to officers in England and Wales, as highlighted in the quote above.
Listen to the range of recommendations Simon both praises and baulks at. He in turn specifically provides guidance to promotion candidates, puts the report in context of the wider policing landscape, and gives food for thought for your preparation for leadership success. Fear not: the controversial subjects (e.g. ‘license to practice’, centralisation of policing roles, police recruitment entry routes) are also covered! I particularly also liked the turn of phrase, “intellectual horsepower isn’t everything”.
Here’s where you can listen to this interview 3 on Spotify:
Once again, I thank Simon for delaying his train several times to share his time and thoughts. I believe it provides a great insight for future police leaders to hear first hand the perspective of current and former senior leaders, particularly those who remain engaged with policing after retirement. I hope you find these discussions helpful and as ever, I welcome your feedback.
If you are a senior officer (current or former), I welcome you to share views on policing and leadership. If you’d like to join me for an interview on this far-reaching platform, get in touch! Feel free to call (07581 299532) or email (email@example.com) to arrange convenient logistics. Your views will be heard by listeners across all UK forces; not to mention the raft of international interested listeners, from New Jersey to New Zealand.
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.
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