|The ACPO Ostrich|
Police leadership 'crisis' claims dismissed
Media and politicians have created a perception of a worsening situation, say commentators.
Public concerns of a perceived "crisis" in police leadership are emerging as the media spotlight focuses on the numbers of chief constables under investigation, it has been claimed.
Analysts have suggested that press and broadcasters have put the issue firmly on the radar of the public - even though nothing has yet been proven against any individual.
Academic Dr Tim Brain said he feared the altered nature of the role of chief constable - which now makes them far more personally accountable - and the increased pressures of the role are resulting in some gifted candidates to avoid applying for top jobs.
Ongoing investigationsAs reported on PoliceOracle.com, two chiefs are currently suspended pending the outcome of probes against them while three others under scrutiny remain on duty.
The latest concerns were raised as local MPs ratcheted up the pressure for Sir Peter Fahy to be suspended after the GMP chief became the latest to find himself under investigation.
The watchdog served the senior officer with a criminal gross misconduct notice over matters relating to an alleged poorly-handled investigation into a suspected sex offender.
Two serving officers and a retired officer are being investigated as part of the same investigation.
But GMP Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd has declined to suspend Sir Peter, highlighting that there was currently "no case for asking the chief to stand down".
He has also called for the IPCC to conduct its investigation quickly and thoroughly.
'No crisis'While accepting that a number of chief constables were under investigatio, Dr Brain - a former chief constable of Gloucestershire - did not believe there was a crisis of leadership.
Dr Brain added: "However, it is true that there is now a crisis of perception out there - and this has been created by a combination of media hype and political momentum.
"Although we know that there are chief constables under investigation, we do not know many details - and we have not been told of any outcomes. It is easy to make an allegation."
Dr Brain said that - in some cases - the allegations against the individuals were made against them while they had been chief constables.
In addition, with IPCC resources stretched, Dr Brain highlighted that officers who were suspended were now faced with months of uncertainty - and careers are suffering as a result.
The academic said that anecdotal evidence suggested some chief officers were shunning top jobs, with recent recruitment exercises attracting few candidates.
New skillsDr Brain said: "The skills required by a chief constable are now a combination of corporate management - with partnerships and collaboration - while taking on more personal responsibility.
"There is increased scrutiny and greater accountability on the individual - the relationship that they have with PCCs is also very personal and different from that of the police authority."
Meanwhile Sir Hugh Orde, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, also denied suggestions in the media that there was a crisis in senior leadership.
Sir Hugh added: “Chief constables are required to make difficult, complex decisions daily, often under extreme pressure. Making these decisions involves balancing risk and acting on the information available with the intention of protecting the public.
“The five chief constables under investigation are all very different cases. It would be wrong to suggest that they are evidence of a crisis in police leadership.
"These cases demonstrate that our system is effective at investigating complaints and transparently holding police to account."
THIN BLUE LINE COMMENT
ACPO as an organization and as a collective of those most senior in the service, has been on the ropes for too long, both financially and in terms of its integrity as a so called professional body. The rank and file have lost all confidence in them. The public and media mistrust them. Accusations of scurrilous disloyal conduct have been too many and too visible to ignore. The Coalition merely tolerated them. The Conservative Shadow cabinet under David Camerons direction accused ACPO of giving “political cover to the Labour Government repeatedly and consistently” and engaging in “gratuitous photocalls” with Gordon Brown and other ministers. It went on to say it “showed almost no criticism of the current Government”.
ACPO IS COMPRISED OF CHIEF AND SENIOR OFFICERS WHO HAVE BEEN SELF SERVING, DECEITFUL, SECRETIVE AND DISLOYAL TO THE ROOT AND BRANCH OFFICERS THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO LEAD WITH HONOUR. THIS BOYS CLUB IS DUE TO BE DISBANDED SO THAT CHIEF OFFICERS CAN RETURN TO WHAT THEY ARE PAID FOR, WHAT THE PUBLIC EXPECTS OF THEM, TO LEAD THEIR OFFICERS AT FORCE LEVEL, FROM THE FRONT, WITH HONESTY, RESPECT, INTEGRITY AND LOYALTY, QUALITIES THAT HAVE BEEN SADLY LACKING.
If ACPO had been allowed to continue, despite their weak protestations to the contrary, the "Us and Them" culture would pervade and decimate the service. Many times this has been evidenced in the private sector, where powerful Governing bodies have been able to "divide and conquer" opposing views from organisations. The police service is no different. Whilst ACPO played the political game, (yet all the time insisting they want to rid the service of politicisation), every Government used the division between the ranks as a lever to extract what THEY want from the situation. Only when the division no longer exists and the service is once again united, will it regain its strength and bargaining power.
It is totally right that the combined experience of police leadership should be utilised to add value and optimise the service provided to the public and the rank and file. However, any ACPO MkII must look to proactively avoid the horrendous historical mistakes of the past.
Anyone that declares the leadership is not in crisis is guilty of the ostrich mentality typical of Chief Officers of recent years. Bury their heads, pretend it isn't happening and DENY, DENY, DENY!
Lord Dear, former West Midlands Chief Constable had it right with his letter to the Times. To quote "Not so long ago misconduct by a senior police officer was rare and newsworthy. Not Now.
Too many top-rank officers are in trouble in the courts and serious doubts are being cast about the trustworthiness of the service at all levels – the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 disturbances, Plebgate, phone-hacking, Hillsborough, the apparent politicisation of the Police Federation and so on. Certainly the police can point to falling crime rates and great success in preventing further terrorist attacks since 7/7, but their response too often appears to be disconnected from what the public expect.
The basic problem is leadership. The service has created, trained and promoted to its top ranks managers, rather than leaders. The roots of this go deep, certainly to a decision taken at the Police Staff College in the early 1990s to drop the focus on leadership on the grounds that it was “divisive and elitist” and concentrate instead on management. The police, like much of the public sector, remain preoccupied with the management ethic, ignoring the words of Viscount Slim p a noted leader in both the army and the commercial world – that “managers are necessary, leaders are essential”.
Hardly surprising that Sir Hugh Orde vociferously defended the ACPO ranks, turkeys don't vote for Christmas and they have too much at stake personally, with gold plated pensions, whopping salaries with all the frills and their glorious fiefdoms to protect.
Is the leadership in crisis? Ask the public and the rank and file who were unanimously critical of their leaders in recent surveys.
And Oracle Readers added:-
Sir Hugh added: “Chief constables are required to make difficult, complex decisions daily, often under extreme pressure. Making these decisions involves balancing risk and acting on the information available with the intention of protecting the public, WHILE SITTING AT A DESK, while the lads and lasses(particularly firearms officers)have to make similar decisions out on the streets, on the hoof, they don't have solicitors and advisors with them when they make those decisions. Could Fahy please tell us which great complex decision he had to make recently, whilst under great pressure.
5 out of 43 under investigation that is about 12% if 12% of constables were under investigation it would be a crisis.
I was wondering how long it would be before some media spin appeared. Here it is.
Well, I have to be honest. When ACPO are getting served papers at the rate they are, I see it as a crisis. In know the fed had a vote of no confidence in ACPO a while ago. If the same percentage of officers were getting papers, I have no doubts ACPO would view this as a crisis. The difference being a PC wouldn't get the PCC speaking out in their support or asking for a proportionate investigation. The PC would be left to fend for themselves.
When I was an officer the more senior the officer in the witness box (Sergeant/Inspector), the stronger the case. Thankfully you don't see too many ACPO officers in the witness box!!!!
The recent increase of ACPO officers under investigation is just symptomatic of the people now filling these posts. They are too close to Politicians, Media and Personalities and care too much about QPM's and knighthoods. They are nothing like the old Chief's who steered clear of the 'P's'......Press, Politians, Politicians.....and now PCC's
Ask yourself if everyone above the rank of inspector didn't come to work for a month would the front line, where the workers are, even notice?
The answer is NO.
The job gets done regardless of these ranks.
Now ask if PC's Sgt's and Inspectors didn't come to work for one day what would happen?
Think we all know.
FROM LINKED IN POLICE GROUPS:-