From PCs to Chief Inspectors… 7 officers’ reflections on a year with CCCU ‘in service’ programme Policing

We wanted to share with you some snippets of our first years’ reflections after a year with us on the Policing BSc in service programme at Canterbury Christ Church University. Some of these statements concern their own development and change of opinion and others are evidence of where they are starting to view an area of policing in line with the literature they have read.

Seeing their development, personal challenge and the beginnings of an understanding of where our world meets theirs is so positive to see from this bright, thoughtful and growing cohort.

Well done first years @CCCU

Emma and Jenny

 

1: “Criticism of the police response to rape is well documented (Horvath et al, 2009; Jordan, 2004; Laville, 2014; Anon, 2015; Temkin & Krahe, 2008) and having studied in depth the evolution of rape investigation in the UK from 1980 to today I have found myself faced with stark evidence that contradicts my own previously held beliefs. Like many officers I genuinely believed the majority of rape allegations were false (Jordan, 2004). But faced with a wealth of scientific information to contrary I have been forced to examine my own beliefs: I have personally investigated 4 allegations of rape in my career, in one of them I found irrefutable evidence that it did not occur as the victim described and I closed it as “no crime.” I am now faced with two realities of my own experience: a) 1 in 4 is not a “majority” and b) the vulnerabilities present in the victim of that case (see Stanko & Williams, 2009) and the circumstances as a whole meant that when I found that evidence I stopped asking questions. In reality I now fear it should rather have prompted me to ask more.

I like to believe I’m more open-minded than most, when I received that allegation I suspected something was amiss but I told myself to purposefully keep an open mind. When I found what I found the truth is that it correlated with my initial gut instinct and for that reason I stopped looking further. Is that not in itself verification bias? Albeit a more subtle form, perhaps even worse because until now I would have sworn on oath that I had not fallen foul of it when in truth I believe now that I did”.

 

2: “Within the context of my role and the people I meet it is apparent that it is the little things that can have a great effect on the attitude of the public. I appreciate that a response officer attending a call for service from a member of the public won’t have the time to sit down, have a cup of tea and help them through whatever the issues are, but a little bit of courtesy and just spending a few minutes to help and advise people where they can go for help, makes a great deal of difference.

This respect and confidence in officers allows a greater more in depth contact with what is happening within these communities. And this alone assists with the greater policing family by assisting with the flow of information. (BULLOCK, Generating and Using Community Intelligence: The case of Neighbourhood Policing, 2010)”

3: “The course has given me the ability to challenge up, has installed an air of confidence, backed up with in depth knowledge, which has often left officers I have had conversation with unable to argue against my point. Its not a case of the course helping me to be right and others wrong, it is about challenging current thinking, looking at things from a different perspective and changing the status quo. The work around evidence based policing has helped me to inspire colleagues in delivering well thought out and proven tactical operations.

One such operation carried out in the last two weeks incorporated the recommendations of Tyler and Sunshine, handing out leaflets and tweeting police action in advance of an operation. This was clearly an effective tactic as members of the public were approaching us during the operation telling us they had heard about the operation and support police action”.

 

4: “I also understand the recent developments within policing and the current models of policing, and how politics can have an effect on policing. Taking the models of neighbourhood policing and how they have developed over the passed decade, from the old traditional method of crime fighting and reacting to crime. How the police have evolved and no longer just focus on crime but their remit has been widened. This is to incorporate the changing social aspects of the population, but also understand that policing cannot and will not solve everyone’s problems alone. Crime and policing is much more that just being a criminal, and the police driving down crime rate, and this is down to many factors and this will only be driven down by the use of all public services in collaboration with each other and partnership working”

 

5:“I have recognized the significant financial investment that the Labour government contributed to policing and the positive emphasis on police reform that they contributed. By introducing Neighbourhood Policing to the UK they transformed the policing arena, to focus on engagement with communities, partnership working and problem solving policing. However as always this has not been perfect and there have been criticisms of them. For example, being too focused on criminalization to the underclasses and the weaker and poorer in society, and not only net widening but they have introduced a lot of legislation in order to do that. There have been arguments from the civil rights camps, that some of the legislation that enacted has gone beyond the remit of the state, such as the quasi-civil powers such as anti social behaviour orders etc.

Although policing is supposed to be politically independent, and it is when it is at the bottom for the operational officers on the street, I have recognised that higher up in the organisation, politics has an influential effect over the decisions that are made. An example of this is moving on from the Labour government to the current coalition, conservative led Government I am currently in the process of witnessing first-hand the results that the cuts in funding are having not only on the police service but neighbourhood policing. The fact that there are not as many officers/auxiliary officers such as PCSO to carry out the increasing demand for police resources. The government are relying and have relied on the rhetoric of ‘we are all in this together’ and that ‘crime is falling’ when in fact it is not falling but it is changing. I recognize that policing needs to change to combat this new landscape, to develop our responses and the way that crime is investigated, and to accept that there maybe a better placed agency to tackle a particular problem”.

 

6: “Partnerships works across London to shape the future of Neighbourhood Policing in the Metropolitan Police Service. It has really opened my eyes to how ambiguous the understanding of Neighbourhood Policing really is in reality as I have read about with several different understandings in theory (Innes, 2005; Johnston, 2005; Innes, 2004; Scarman, 1986). Elements of the discussions have focused on public perception of the police due to media coverage (Bradley, et al., 2011) and the main themes of Neighbourhood Policing; community engagement, problem-solving and partnership working (Casey, 2008; Newman, et al., 2010; Meese, 1993; Home Office, 2010; Parfrement-Hopkins, et al., 2011). I have been able to identify the theories from which particular ideas have originated, for instance it was discussed how priorities perceived by local communities are invariable dissimilar to police priorities (Maguire & John, 2006; Quinton & Morris, 2008) and how communities can feel let down by police when their concerns are not addressed. This is a point I have studied to realise it is essential for Neighbourhood Policing to be successful for the police to simply address the concerns of the community as this raises confidence (Myhill & Quinton, 2010; Home Office, 2014).

“Overall, the knowledge I have gained has helped me to understand the issues that I have found myself discussing with officers who have varying levels of knowledge and experience. The course has allowed me to answer questions with confidence and engage in meaningful conversation while providing further contrasting arguments”.

 

7: “There has been a lot of discussion around examples of evidence based policing from my own experience and how I go about equipping individuals with the right insights to make their own decisions in the hope of a rational outcomes. One part that cannot be undervalued is the ‘art’ of connecting with people and being a fellow ‘citizen in uniform.’ The ability to break down the barrier sometimes a uniform can create is something I try to achieve and feel ensures as much ‘consent’ possible in the policing I perform. The value of the degree education to date is being appreciate some of the ‘whys’ behind the instruction based ‘hows.’”

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