Professional development

It is our firmly held belief that the Metropolitan Police Service has neglected the issue of professional training for middle manager inspecting ranks for far too long, by our estimation at least a generation. Notwithstanding a few notable exceptions namely Firearm Incident Command Training (IFCAT) and to a lesser degree the ‘Managing risks’ Health & Safety input, the Service has for too long believed that once an officer has passed selection for inspector that they no longer need training specific to the demands of the rank. There have been too many examples, whereby individual members have been exposed to the risk of both criminal and misconduct proceedings because the service has been negligent and sent untrained managers into high risk situations with insufficient training.

The paucity of development support extends to the non provision of any management skills based training to enable the inspecting ranks to fulfil their role as key managers and developers of others, dispute resolution (both internal and external), Unsatisfactory Performance Procedures and indeed any meaningful guidance on the compilation and content of performance development reviews.(PDR’s)

This situation has been exacerbated still further with the introduction of the Transforming HR & Transforming F&R programmes which have resulted in Inspectors being saddled with all manner of HR and Resource functions but no training and little instruction as to the demands and responsibilities of the role.

Training appears now to be considered an expensive luxury rather than an absolute necessity. How can we have Inspectors being made Fire Safety Managers without any form of training to make them competent in what is clearly a designated H&S role?

The Service has we believe developed an unhealthy over reliance on work place computer based training packages which prove nothing other than an ability to operate a mouse.

We fully support the on going work of the PFEW Inspectors Central Committee to produce a system whereby all professional development for the inspecting ranks is properly accredited by a recognised educational establishment. Accredited training is we believe fundamental for officers to be able to evidence their value and personal progression within the Service.
To help highlight these concerns we contributed a large sum of money to assist the Inspectors Central Committee of the Police Federation of England & Wales (PFEW) to conduct a survey of all Inspecting ranks members to establish what training they have had, as well as the frequency and validity of it . The results of that survey which were published in May 08 sadly confirmed our worse fears and sad to say we believe the situation has only got worse.

Click here to view the section of the report as it relates to the MPS.

The areas of particular concern to us are:

87% have had no accredited managerial qualification (Page 5)
62% are not trained in Reviews of Detention (Page 19). This is particularly interesting given the current debate being waged over increasing detention periods for certain classes of suspect and with it the levels of authority required to sanction those periods
76% have had no training specific to their rank (Page 14)
63% haven’t attended a development training course for over a year (Page 7)
84% are not trained in financial management (Page 39 ) which is again significant given the push from certain areas of the MPS to link officers competency to their ability to control their budgets.

We as a Branch Board are supportive of the Centrex devised Core Leadership Development Programme (CDLP) which we believe will begin to fill the void. Unfortunately the MPS decided not to sign up to CLDP preferring instead to develop their own programme via their leadership academy. We are not convinced though that this bespoke programme adequately equips newly promoted Inspectors to do the job expected of them in the real world.

Regrettably despite continued protestations in an attempt to remedy the situation we have had very little input into the programme that is delivered and we have been repeatedly denied a reasonable opportunity to address the students on issues such as the particular changes in their working conditions as a result of their promotion into a salaried rank.

So until we are provided with tangible evidence to the contrary we will continue to highlight in as many forums as possible the ongoing failing of the MPS to properly equip its middle managers and press for a proper programme of rank specific training.