More / Your views

This page is where we invite you, our members and readers to comment upon the web site’s content and ask any questions on policing/Federation issues you may have. As you can appreciate being a public site some editorial control is needed to protect the IBB. So we cannot grant free writing access but I will respond to any comments sent to myopinion@polfed.org for inclusion and will try to use as many as possible on this page.

We have had perhaps unsurprisingly our biggest ever response to a front page article with our latest post entitled ‘ Your opportunity to become a Midwitch Cuckoo’ Here are a selection of those responses to date;

A TP Chief Inspector from the North West Cluster says

“An interesting programme is it not? You may not be aware of an equally interesting example of somebody who applied for promotion to Superintendent through the corporate process but was deemed not to have evidence of sufficient calibre to merit going to the Assessment Centre.

However, they had a magic key to promotion. They had access to the ‘Equip to Achieve’ programme which provides bespoke and intensive training to BME officers and staff. Apparently they get several days a month to study and have access to mentors etc and a considerable amount of front loading / training. The same people who provide that training are the ones who are in charge of the Emerging Leaders assessment process. The chap I am aware of was, perhaps unsurprisingly, successful in the ELP. They will now become a temporary superintendent and as long as they pass their equivalent of Towbar, will in due course become a Chief Superintendent.

I seek your views on the wisdom of the creation of any process which on the one hand says you cannot attend an assessment centre in a competitive process for the next rank but then, a matter of weeks later, says you are suitable to be two ranks senior to your current position.

More seriously, I intend to take your advice and apply for the emerging leaders programme. How can I compete on a level footing with candidates who have had significant amounts of time and money invested in their success by the organisation when I will be denied access to the same resources? I am aware of the need to take action to rectify imbalances, but grooming some candidates for promotion by giving them time and access to training which is designed to get them thorough a specific process seems discriminatory to me. Either we all have access or none of us do.”

A TP Chief Inspector says

“I completed the assessment centre having been successful at the application stage. If you think that the application smacked of nepotism, the assessment centre would have sickened you. Needless to say I am not an emerging leader.”

An Inspector from Central Operations says

“It appears to be a ‘back door’ to recruiting police senior officers, who do not need to be tested and experienced in policing skills, either generic or specialist. As your article points out, it is likely that it will appeal to ‘Yes’ men and women who are compliant and ‘friendly’ to the Chief Superintendent.”

An Inspector from the North East Cluster says

“I became aware of this route, when one of colleagues was successful in applying for the scheme. Whilst not confirmed, it was suggested that our Supt. did spend an inordinate amount of time in helping him to draft and re-draft, his application.

Prior to even putting pen to paper, this Inspector has been moved to key posts, by the aforementioned Supt., whilst avoiding others, which have enhanced his CV building skills.
Not sure if it is a corporate policy it is fairly obvious that this individual has been selected and groomed for advancement, without any form of open selection process.”

A Safer Neighbourhoods Inspector from the South East Cluster says

“If the right people end up getting promoted anyway, then we can’t very well argue. That said, I think we all know that the right people don’t always get promoted. I suppose it I am lucky enough to get onto ELP and get promoted I will be more positive about it than if I don’t. The mainstream route is so fraught with bureaucracy that this new system must be worth a go, if only to save some typing!”

A TP Inspector from the South West Cluster says

“I’m staggered but not surprised. I would be interested if any had recently been unsuccessful on the ‘normal’ route. I also wonder if there are by chance any issues with the over/under representation of ‘Special Groups’”

A TP Inspector from the South East Cluster says

“I did know of ELP. I applied but apparently it’s for police staff too not just police officers, so it’s not quite 40 places taken away from police officer promotion. I was told that ELP is only for those who show the ability to reach ACPO level or equivalent. With 27yrs service at the time I had no chance.”

A SNT Chief Inspector from the South West Cluster says

“I have to say that I have heard people (a very small number) mention it and I was under the impression that it was an extension of the HPDS. It obviously isn’t and it concerns me that certain people have been made aware, and applied and have been selected, when the rest of the organisation appears to be blissfully ignorant! I fully support the concerns you raise.
I have to say that I have heard people (a very small number) mention it and I was under the impression that it was an extension of the HPDS. It obviously isn’t and it concerns me that certain people have been made aware, and applied and have been selected, when the rest of the organisation appears to be blissfully ignorant! I fully support the concerns you raise.”

An SO DI says

“Personally, I fail to understand why we have the ELP when the HPDS exists to fulfil the same purpose, albeit on a national rather than force scale.
The ELP isn’t a real option for those of us with a handful of years left in the job and in any case may not suit those who want to set their own career timetable and aspirations a rank at a time rather than committing themselves to a course of action where they may be expected to push on for rank after rank.
I am very unhappy at a scheme like this coming into being without consultation with the Federation.”

A SNT Inspector South East says

“If what you say about the ELP program is correct then they might as well do away with the current selection program and just use ELP instead.”

A CO Chief Inspector says

“I think it goes against the whole ethos of openness and transparency and will boil down to how well you get on with your Borough Commander or if your best mates with them. It won’t necessarily be based on your ability, skills or what you have delivered as by the sounds of it you will get what ever evidence you need through the attachments and projects etc. It sounds grossly unfair and does not make it a level playing field for the best candidate to succeed.
I think it goes against the whole ethos of openness and transparency and will boil down to how well you get on with your Borough Commander or if your best mates with them. It won’t necessarily be based on your ability, skills or what you have delivered as by the sounds of it you will get what ever evidence you need through the attachments and projects etc. It sounds grossly unfair and does not make it a level playing field for the best candidate to succeed.”

A DCI from SCD says

“We already have an accelerated promotion scheme which has led to a log jam of some young in police service, relatively in-experienced commanders who will all be looking for relatively few jobs at a higher rank – why not take their time getting to that rank e.g. Commander with 16 years? They could then not spend years in the ranks leading up to the more senior ranks and be informed from an experienced based knowledge base when making decisions that impact on operational matters. What is the rationale for the new system – are the current leaders not doing a good job? Is there a shortage of applicants? What is so bad about experience?

We already have an accelerated promotion scheme which has led to a log jam of some young in police service, relatively in-experienced commanders who will all be looking for relatively few jobs at a higher rank – why not take their time getting to that rank e.g. Commander with 16 years? They could then not spend years in the ranks leading up to the more senior ranks and be informed from an experienced based knowledge base when making decisions that impact on operational matters. What is the rationale for the new system – are the current leaders not doing a good job? Is there a shortage of applicants? What is so bad about experience?”

A DI from South East says

“I find the comments of Mark Crake on http://www.metibb.co.uk/ quite frankly unhelpful and unnecessarily cynical. I am more than aware of the ELP and so are my colleagues, at least one of whom applied to the programme. There have been several Intranet articles on the ELP explaining the programme and inviting applications. These articles were sufficient for me and my colleagues to find out about the programme.

It is being run by the Career Management Unit up at ESB and my understanding is that they have identified gaps left by the national HPDS scheme in managing talent and designed this programme to meet the shortfall.

I believe that they should be applauded for taking such proactive action in ensuring that the capable and motivated officers who believe in the job they are doing are assisted in the best way possible, and not leaving the MPS to the mercy of the NPIA national Talent Management schemes, which are insufficient for MPS needs. As Mark Crake identifies, the corporate systems are not without its problems and if officers are given another opportunity to be recognised, so much the better. The MPS has a responsibility to its officers and Londoners to develop the talent we have and reduce the bureaucratic barriers that prevent this and programmes such as this go someway to meeting this demand.

While I recognise the frustration felt by many over the promotion processes, I hope that Mark Crake’s apparent outlook and lack of proactively is not replicated on a wide scale across the MPS as the ELP may have very little to choose from.

For the record, I do not work for the central CMU, I am not someone’s staff officer looking for brownie points, neither by the same token have I applied to ELP and been accepted. I am just a Borough DI slightly happier knowing this scheme exists should I feel the need to apply in the future. I am sure if Mark Crake takes the time to speak to the staff at the CMU he will find them as helpful and informative as I and my colleagues did. The explanation for high levels of Borough involvement in the application is so that that those that are truly achieving in the work place can be identified rather than those that can write a decent form. I don’t consider this to be nepotism and certainly fairer than a paper process or a rough a ready assessment centre which again favours those that are good at the process rather than good at the job.”

An Inspector from the South East Cluster says

“Do we not have enough mechanisms and opportunities for the gifted to accelerate their careers? It would be interesting to have sight of the ELP selection criteria and some statistical analysis of the successful applicants.
Do we not have enough mechanisms and opportunities for the gifted to accelerate their careers? It would be interesting to have sight of the ELP selection criteria and some statistical analysis of the successful applicants.”

An Inspector from the South West Cluster says

“I have read your comments and I think that the ELP is an outrageous abuse of the system.”

A SO DI says

“Despite having worked hard and innovatively in this organisation for 30 years, it has become apparent to me that the promotional system used by the MPS is (and appears to always have been) dysfunctional and not fit for purpose.

In pursuit of promotion, both at sergeant and Inspector level, I must have wasted 1,000′s of hours programming myself, trying to learn job speak and catch phrases, and probably spending an equal amount of time de-learning them when the promotional system identified that staff were moving up the promotional ladder by merely regurgitating ‘job speak’. Having been successful at the Inspector promotion process after 5 years of trying, a very industrious and productive colleague was quoted as saying “In order pass the process I had to put aside 25 years of policing experience”.

In addition, although I consider myself a ‘Modern thinker’ it is clear to me that this organisation is moving rapidly towards promoting the favoured few.
As one of my senior officers once said “perhaps you have to accept that you have reached your level”. Perhaps he was right, as this organisation appears to want to promote in its own image”

A SO Chief Inspector says

“At the end of your article on the Emerging Leaders Programme (ELP), you asked whether your views were representative of the members you represented, and they are not, in my case.

I passed the assessment centre for the ELP in October so will be one of the 31 police officers and staff on the scheme when it launches this month. You suggest the scheme was hidden away on the People Pages – not the case. It was advertised in Corporate News on the Intranet. I saw it and decided to apply. I have never been on a high-potential scheme before, nor do I have a mentor – I am an ordinary Chief Inspector with 20 years’ service. You suggest that “if you’re good friends with your OCU Commander you are literally half way there!” – Again, simply not the case. Being friends with the OCU Commander wouldn’t help anyone get through the assessment process, which consisted of an application form (including the OCU Commander’s assessment of the applicant’s likely potential – surely a sensible question?) and a day-long assessment centre, which was not easy. The assessment centre included a written exercise and presentation, negotiating exercise, fact-finding exercise, structured judgement questions and a competency-based interview. If a candidate didn’t perform on the day, he or she wouldn’t pass – no different to the Chief Inspectors’ process.

You suggest that ELP is in addition to HPDS; it isn’t. There are no inspectors or chief inspectors on the HPDS now as it has been replaced by the ELP and any HPDS inspectors or chief inspectors wanting to move schemes also had to pass the ELP assessment centre.

Most large progressive and successful companies have talent management schemes. What is the problem with the MPS having one, if it is fair? I would expect the Federation to support the development of its members in this way, not to oppose it.”