The College of Policing

The College of Policing is working 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 last month.

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 sources 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:

  • Domestic circumstances -the impact a promotion may have on time spent away from family and on partners and children.

  • Financial impact - including pension and tax, and specifically the lack of advice and information to assist understanding of consequences in this area.

  • Force/organisational -considerations relating to the fit with a recruiting force's culture and values, profile, location, existing team and PCC.

  • Location - and impacts associated with changes in cost of living and disruption through a requirement to relocate. 

  • Selection process - concerns around transparency and fairness of current selection processes, including perceptions of favoured internal candidates.

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