Peter, thank you for using Policing Matters as a medium for research. I think this has given us a real opportunity to contribute to a debate that is very close to all our hearts. My own position has been developed over the past 12 years of having the real privilege of working with some brilliant leaders (of all ranks) at Bramshill.
If policing development is delivering something that any other agency can deliver – then we have got our business model fundamentally wrong. I believe that business skills should be taught by professionals in that field; that criminology skills should be delivered by universities that rank among the best in the world; I believe, however, that policing skills should be delivered by the police – and we should be proud of that fact. To use Collin’s model – our hedgehog is about bringing together learning from all our key stakeholders and contextualising it into the policing discourse – making sense of a complex and often contradictory world called modern policing. This is applied learning at its best. We should not teach criminology, we should not teach business skills – we do this in partnership with all the other agencies with whom we ‘touch’ on a regular basis – and together we learn. But none of those agencies, by definition, have access into the very heart of policing that we have. We need to utilise this access (including all the massive data basis that have been collected about senior leaders, MBTI, HOGAN, APTA, etc) and use all of this in an applied model that helps deliver to communities.
We need to be careful not to asset strip under extreme financial pressure: I have worked with academics and business schools at executive level – and they are brilliant at what they do. But what we are brilliant at is taking this learning and moving it from a theoretical discourse (which is utterly invaluable) into an applied model. That is why at the very heart of policing we need a learned environment that adds value. I know, that you are aware of my position but I felt it was important to share with others. My great fear is that government look towards other organisations, see what they deliver and simply outsource. Leaders within policing need the opportunity to come into a learned environment and make sense of the complexities of their world.
If we leave everything to others – how do we shape our own professional mandate? The future is not about creating a technical college of policing where we simply learn public order, firearms skills etc; but a learned environment within which leaders can flourish in order to deliver the best policing possible to the communities they seek to serve.