Dunno about this, really dunno

The policing minister, Damian Green, has also confirmed radical plans to open up the recruitment of middle-ranking officers to outsiders with business and leadership skills for the first time.

The introduction of a direct-entry annual recruitment scheme for at least 20 police superintendents and 80 fast-track inspectors from next year will end a century’s tradition of all police officers starting their career on the beat.

The police themselves have always resisted the idea of an officer class. And pissing off establishments is always a useful guide to interesting policy. So on that side, OK, fine.

And yet, and yet: the police are supposed to be us. The citizenry. Adopting a more military style management doesn’t seem to aid in that very much.

Or, of course, we could end up with the wannabe middle management types who have their sociology degrees being this new officer class and that would be even worse than having the force run by the rejects from the Life Guards. And I think my greatest fear here is that that is exactly what will happen. It’ll be a career path for those too dim to go into normal management. Heads stuffed full of diversity advisoring rather than how to actually police and area.

21 thoughts on “Dunno about this, really dunno”

  1. This is simply the acceleration of the process that has been going on since MacPherson. Anyone who knows any police officers (below management level) will tell you that the ‘fast-track’ has been going for years. Pretty much all management above the level of Inspector are stats, box-checking yes-men/women.

    This is just a classic bureaucratic ‘more of the same’ solution. I.e. if you’ve got a problem it’s because you haven’t been doing enough of what caused the problem.

  2. Yeah, I thought the officer class in the police force was already full of box-ticking, bureaucratic Sociology grads.

  3. Ha

    an open door to other public sector twerps to jump on a gravy train no doubt. They’re becoming interchangeable – in Wiltshire the council are merging with the local constabulary – only a matter of time before we see stab vested and Tasered up librarians…

  4. PC Copperfield dealt with all of this all those years ago in his book. The police aren’t police any more. And this pretty much describes the status quo:

    ‘It’ll be a career path for those too dim to go into normal management. Heads stuffed full of diversity advisoring rather than how to actually police and area.’

  5. Not “too dim to”, but rather, “the same as”.

    This is just a manifestation of the continued rise to hegemony of the managerial class who most visibly manifested early on in corporate management; though the key point being that they are pan-sectorial. THe same kind of manager twonk might be in the nominally private, public or third sector and drift effortlessly between them.

    You know the argument; “management” is a distinct and independent set of skills, and the same “management skills” might manage a hospital, or a biscuit factory, or a charity. Or a police force. That the manager has no experience of or particular knowledge of the shop floor is a feature, not a bug, ensuring the purity of their distinct management skilzz0r.

    It’s a mandarinate thing.

  6. “Or, of course, we could end up with the wannabe middle management types who have their sociology degrees being this new officer class..”

    Would we notice?

  7. If I remember right, they tried this in the 1930s – the name Trenchard comes to mind, but I am too busy to follow it up.

    It was soon recognised to be an error, and stopped. As pointed out above, the creation of an officer class has already been happening by stealth, with results we are seeing.

    This time round, the reaction is to do it again, only harder.

    In the military and team sports, and doubtless in business, they reinforce success, not failure…

    Sure, the military has an officer class, and their training is usually fearsome.

  8. ‘Sure, the military has an officer class, and their training is usually fearsome.’

    In some regts and the RM, yes. Not in all.

  9. @IanB ‘You know the argument; “management” is a distinct and independent set of skills, and the same “management skills” might manage a hospital, or a biscuit factory, or a charity. Or a police force. That the manager has no experience of or particular knowledge of the shop floor is a feature, not a bug, ensuring the purity of their distinct management skilzz0r.’

    Some truth in this – Adam Crozier, for instance. However, I thought Gerry Robinson made some valuable and interesting suggestions re the NHS.

    To some extent, private sector managers must be better than public, because competition, and some of these skills, with the right style, must be applicable to the public sector.

    Trouble is, I guess, that the bureaucrats can always outwait you, no matter how brilliant, or just right, you are.

  10. The problem for the “managerial” class is that they are fucking useless shite and destroy everything they get their hands on. Up to now there has been enough slack in the production/distribution system that their destruction could be covered. But the slack is tightening by the day/week/month and sooner or later huge holes will appear as whole areas of “managed excellence” collapse. HMRC has already been fucked up as far as its “investigation” side goes–but because of PAYE money still comes in. But the managers are living on time borrowed from their much craftier ancestors.

  11. The police themselves have always resisted the idea of an officer class.

    and traditionally, the sort of person who became an officer wouldn’t go near the police. Officering was a gentleman’s profession – so much so that it managed to become reverse engineered; if you became an officer through dilligence or valour you were deemed to have shown yourself a gentleman, be you never so rough or inclined to wipe your cock on the curtains. I believe that the certificate of commission even used to refer to the holder as ‘gentleman’.

    Policing, by contrast, was not a profession for a gentleman. Even the most egalitarian republican might recognise the logic of this – policemen might be required to arrest gentlemen, and that is something that a gentleman might not be comfortable doing; indeed he might even feel a prior loyalty to his chums.

    Funnily enough, whilst the modern army has become a lot more egalitarian, the police haven’t. Even more interestingly, I was chatting to an RAF copper who was telling me that they are all NCOs, at most Warrant Officers. The officers in the RAF police being managers, not sharp end coppers.

  12. You know the argument; “management” is a distinct and independent set of skills, and the same “management skills” might manage a hospital, or a biscuit factory, or a charity.

    To a point, this argument is valid. The problem is, most people going into management couldn’t run a fucking bath, and lack the distinct and independent skills you refer to. Most have no clue whatsoever what managers are actually supposed to do.

  13. Will this stop Police Federation officials telling lies about their meetings with pepple such as Mr Andrew Mitchell?

  14. @ Interested
    I never studied at Sandhurst, but from what little I could see, as well as from reports by others, the training *was* pretty fearsome.

  15. This will only solidify the police as a branch of the socialist/ marxist party. Far too late to star worrying about it.
    It bi even possible that there will be teacher / police persons running schools soon.

  16. “the police are supposed to be us”

    Trouble is Tim, that they come to regard all of “us” as potential offenders. When one thinks of the police, one thinks first that they lie to protect their own and second that the senior ranks are too fearful to take on the obvious self-interestedness of the federation. So let them have a go with bringing in outsiders in the hope that they can root out the wrong’uns, and God knows there seems to be plenty of them.

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