• A short review of 2011

    In December 2010 I wrote a short blog about the challenges that the police would face in 2011 - http://tinyurl.com/7ftjv2h. The blog ended with the question – ‘will common sense prevail in 2011?’ I guess the answer was 'no.'

    Last year was a very tough year for policing in the UK. Not only did we see street disturbances in many of our major cities, but the police had to cope with industrial disputes, student demonstrations, a significant increase in police accountability and challenges to pay and conditions.

    It seems fairly obvious that current government has no time for the police and continues to fail to support them. There are echoes of the Conservative government in the 1990s during the time of Sheehy and Posen, but this time it seems to be worse. The current administration will not listen and continues to plough its own furrow

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    But 2011 saw an even greater challenge for policing. I have never known senior officers who belong to the Association of Chief Police Officers being held to account to the extent that they were last year. There were arrests, suspensions, public media exposures, open condemnation, resignations and public humiliation. I wonder how many senior officers are looking over their shoulder and wondering who is next.

    Even further down the hierarchy there are stories of Professional Standards Departments being stretched due to the number of internal investigations that are underway. It is unlikely that the police will see any respite in 2012. The movement of senior officers in two major forces, the Metropolitan Police and Merseyside Police has seen an almost total replacement of their senior ranks with new people. I am sure that will add to the difficulties of leading during times of austerity and the new teams bed in and go through Tuckman’s ‘forming, storming, norming process.’

    What is promising from a personal point of view is that during 2011 I was fortunate to meet many innovative and dedicated leaders of a large Metropolitan Force who are determined to work as a team and make things better for the people who they serve.

    Those students of leadership would do well to watch what happens in policing circles during the next 12 months as I have a sneaking suspicion that pressure will still be felt by the police as they come to grips with new challenges and reducing budgets.

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