The College of Policing will work with police leaders to develop proposals for a national hub for the development and selection of senior police leadership, in response to the findings of a chief officer appointments survey released today.
The hub would seek to offer an ‘executive search’ function for chief officers and Police and Crime Commissioners, introduce comprehensive careers guidance at an earlier stage in the development of police leaders, and support workforce planning for police leadership.
Alongside the hub, the College will consult on the experience and qualifications required for chief officers in the future, and launch a simultaneous review of the Senior Police National Assessment Centre and Strategic Command Course, which UK police officers aspiring to chief officer roles must successfully complete.
The Chief Police Officers’ Staff Association and Police Superintendents’ Association for England and Wales will help their members find souThe College of Policing CEO, Chief Constable Alex rces of clearer advice on financial and relocation concerns, which surveys show can form a barrier to candidates stepping forward for chief officer positions.
The College of Policing CEO, Chief Constable Alex Marshall said:
“The Leadership Review identified the fast changing and challenging future context for policing. At every level, leadership is a critical aspect of ensuring the police can meet those challenges and deliver for the public.
“There are excellent leaders coming through policing and at the top of forces. But it’s also clear that in some cases, there have been too few candidates for the most senior positions. These surveys, carried out by the College with the assistance of staff associations, give us an evidence base for the first time, to help us understand the barriers to attracting candidates and the options for action.”
In partnership with the Chief Police Officers’ Staff Association (CPOSA), the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), the Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales (PSAEW), the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and the Home Office, the College of Policing developed four questionnaires to gather further information on the issues raised.
The questionnaires were aimed at four distinct response groups: selection and HR leads, PCCs, chief constables and potential applicants, including deputy chief constables, assistant chief constables, chief superintendents and superintendents.
The surveys identified a range of barriers likely to influence potential candidates’ decisions to apply for a chief officer vacancy:
Chair of the Chief Police Officers’ Staff Association Mark Polin said:
“It is in the interests of the communities we serve that policing is able to attract and select individuals with the skills and attributes to occupy its most senior positions. The survey was commissioned because of concerns about fewer candidates applying for some of the top jobs and it reveals a range of barriers.
“Improving the situation requires a collective response with PCCs, staff associations and the College of Policing all playing their part in ensuring that candidates have the information, advice and support that gives them the confidence to step into these complex, challenging but hugely rewarding roles in public service.”
President of the Police Superintendents’ Association for England and Wales Gavin Thomas said:
“As the senior operational leaders of policing, many of our members go on to become Chief Officers. I welcome a review of the training, development and assessment processes for chief Officers as a healthy approach to ensuring the best possible leadership for the future of policing.
“Policing, and the demands on it, are changing fast and leadership skills must reflect this.
“The challenges policing faces requires different thinking and an entrepreneurial approach. We need leaders who are prepared to both make mistakes and allow mistakes to be made, and who will promote a culture of learning and innovation, as well as working with the public and partners to set the direction of policing for future generations.”
Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Dame Vera Baird QC said:
“We welcome the research undertaken by the College which has helped identify barriers to candidates applying for the top officer jobs in the police service.
“It can only be good for policing in England and Wales if we can increase the flow of the talent pipeline and encourage both greater competition and greater diversity of candidates for chief constable jobs. The national hub being developed by the College will help us to overcome the barriers and to achieve those aims.”
The full survey results and report can be viewed on the College of Policing website.