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Policing and the EU fallout… We can only guess for now!



Police Pay

We have left the EU so what does the future hold for policing and relationships within Europe.

What impact with the fall-out has on policing within the UK?

Better Laws

One of the most important impacts of leaving the EU. It means we can once again create our own laws in the UK. It is hoped that laws will be now created to better protect front-line police officers who are attacked or killed on duty.

They may even introduce better laws that make the jobs of police officers much simpler and easier to deal with. We can always dream.

Police Intelligence 

We’d like to hope that we can continue an international relationship with intelligence gathering and be sharing with EU countries. We are good with sharing Intelligence with world intelligence agencies.

We should be able to continue sharing intelligence with countries. After all, Terror is a world threat.

Policing Budgets

Here is to hoping that the Government will spend a little more on policing and keeping our streets safer now they are not ploughing so much money into Europe. But we won’t hold our breaths.

Criminal Justice System 

To be honest the system probably got a little bit easier. The law isn’t that simple, however, we will no longer have the European court of appeal who seem to overturn convictions of killers, murders and rapists on grounds of ‘Human Rights’.


European Arrest Warrants.

Unfortunately, it is very likely we will lose the right to take out a European Arrest Warrant for murder suspects and those who have committed a serious crime and fled the UK to an EU country.

Human Rights 

Speaking of those Human Rights we will be no longer governed by those silly rules that force the British Government to pay out millions if a paedophile or killers human rights have been breached. We will likely create our own form of Human Rights, however, the British government will be able to create more workable rights.



These are Police Officers who work to make Europe safer. They deal with major investigations such as drug smuggling or human trafficking. Once we leave the EU we won’t have Europol within the United Kingdom.


There may even be some changes we haven’t yet considered! if you have any Tweet us @PoliceHour

What we know to be a fact is British Police will continue to be the best in the world.




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Police Promotion: Focus On Your Potential Not Your Limitations



Police promotion is not easy. It’s hard. If achieving it was easy, everyone might go for it. For those who do, promotion to Sergeant is a considerable step.

This first jump onto the rank structure or Greasy Pole as it is sometimes referred to is often cited as the most significant, rewarding and enjoyable career move. In terms of professional development as a leader, manager and supervisor, going for promotion is probably one of the biggest career decisions you’ll ever make. The process to get there is not for the faint-hearted either.

This can be quite daunting, especially if you are working shifts, balancing a family and wondering when or if you will be able to prepare. It requires reserves of energy, drive and resilience. You may have some big questions.

After studying for months to pass the law exam to qualify for a promotion, you might think that’s the end of it. It’s not.

“This is not the end. It is not the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning” – Winston Churchill

It is just the end of the beginning because a wider selection process lies ahead. It’s also a key moment where individuals may need a well-earned break. Some recognise the need to keep traction going. For a variety of reasons, others take their foot off the accelerator, losing momentum and can find it difficult to regain that initial drive. A promotion opportunity at this point may still be months or even years away.

Candidates can be ‘timed out’ depending on how long ago they qualified. Some may even have to go back to the drawing board and start studying all over again.

Deciding To Seek Support

A continuous development plan together with a growth mindset is key for aspiring promotion candidates. Opportunities are opening up across forces.

In 2015/16 there were 1,089 Sergeant Promotions. Over 1,100 more Sergeants and Inspectors were promoted compared to the previous year and the highest proportion ever (27%) were female.   

So it is with some of the above observations in mind that Police Hour wanted to examine what the promotion journey is like from the perspective of a couple of candidates who successfully navigated the obstacles, barriers and challenges to achieve their promotions.

Case Study: Fast Track PC to Insp.

Candidate’s Coaching Insights…

My Nemesis: I contacted Steve for some help with promotion interviews. For a long time, I had struggled with interviews; I didn’t know how to get the right amount of detail in my answers whilst managing my time.

Interviews had turned into my nemesis and the more I worried about them the worse I performed. As a result, I failed my Sergeant promotion board in 2016.

On the Spot: To be honest, I never expected to get through the paper sift stage. After failing this board I promised myself that I wouldn’t let it happen again. I went back to the drawing board and targeted my areas for development, I decided to apply for Fast Track to really test my skills and abilities, to be honest I never expected to get through paper sift stage.

I found Steve online and got in touch via email, he was very prompt in his reply and said he was more than happy to help me with my Fast Track development. We agreed what I’d like to get out of the session beforehand, I wanted to be put on the spot, asked some difficult questions and I wanted Steve to be honest with where I was and how I could improve.

Reassurance: A week later we had a Skype coaching session. This was the first time I have done this kind of coaching. We went through introductions and some Sergeant and Inspector level questions. Steve provided detailed feedback for each response I gave, it was reassuring that I actually was better than I thought.

It really helped doing a ‘dry run’ with someone that didn’t know me and could give objective feedback about my strengths and weaknesses. Steve was very knowledgeable and his experience shone through. After the session he kept in touch and sent me articles and information that would help in my preparation, this was unexpected and showed his commitment to me getting the right result.

I Came Out Top: I know that it was my best interview to date. The coaching undoubtedly made the difference this time as I came out top of an in-force fast track assessment centre. I passed a competency-based interview, followed by an interview with Chief Officers. I was selected as one of only two people from my force to attend the College of Policing for the Fast Track Assessment.

I completed the assessment. Major difference this time: I felt comfortable and confident going into my interview component. I was reassured I had done the right preparation and targeted the right areas. My responses were detailed, to the point and all within the strict time limits.

I am now seeing steady improvement in an area that troubled me for years! Using career coaching is a great way to benchmark yourself, it has really helped me.

Case Study: Promotion to Sergeant

Candidate’s Coaching Insights…

I have recently passed my Sergeant board first time and can safely say I wouldn’t have had the confidence and drive to get through without support.

Removing Mystery: I started out totally mystified and unsure of what lay ahead and so nine months prior to my board I attended a promotion master class. This took away some of the mystery for me and also gave me some confidence in my approach. In between? Practice, practice, practice.

Panic and Hitting the Wall: I’d say the most valuable part of my rank success experience include the guides, which I could reference at any point, but also the fact that Steve was there via email or phone to bring me back to focus when I contacted him in a panic having hit a wall in my preparation.

Through that Door: It’s a very hard process, but so worth it if you are willing and able to put the time and work in. Nothing comes easily, but rank success tools guide you down the right path and give you the confidence that you need and can take with you as soon as you walk through that door on the day of your board. “I get posted to my new team in the next couple of weeks and I still can’t quite believe it!”   

We also asked Steve Cooper of Rank Success for his own insights on these case studies.

Steve’s Coaching Insights:

Two of the hardest things to handle in life are success and failure. Both feature intrinsically in police promotion processes. It’s no surprise that some individuals want to maximise their potential. A sounding board or thinking partner is how some individuals describe coaching, but my favourite description of coaching is Tim Gallwey’s:

“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise his or her own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” – Tim Gallwey

The officers featured in the two case studies both adopted the most simple and effective strategy that I know of for achieving promotion. Prepare ahead! One alludes to starting nine months ahead of opportunity.

I find many officers are still quite sceptical about coaching. As an ex-cop myself; it’s something I understand. A legacy of a spoon-fed learning culture within policing still influences attitudes towards career development.

It’s a shame because some very capable individuals remain trapped in that mindset.

There are no guarantees of success when it comes to promotion. No one can offer that. Yet some still ‘see’ only the tangible outcome e.g. success or failure. That is to ignore other benefits and products of coaching including:

  1. Proactive focused thought, attention and observation
  2. Self-belief, self-motivation, commitment, awareness, responsibility
  3. Higher than normal focused attention; leading to higher than normal performance
  4. Action
  5. Achieving – What next?

This is the ‘stuff’, which, combined with an enthusiastic approach underpins success. In short, including coaching as part of your promotion preparation can help you focus on your potential instead of your limitations.


If you are preparing ahead and would like something to trigger and support your thinking, you might discover some known knowns, known unknowns or even unknown unknowns in my FREE 50 page downloadable guide: ‘7 Things Promotion Boards Also Look For’.



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Police Promotion the Knowns and Unknowns



Promotion to Sergeant and Inspector ranks are significant transitions in any policing career.

Becoming More Promotable

Following a kind invitation from Police Hour, I am delighted to have this opportunity to support UK police officers aspiring to police promotion and looking to make the jump to first and second line supervisor positions.

With that in mind, i aim over coming months to offer guidance to help navigate some of the real and perceived barriers associated with achieving promotions.

If you missed my initial blog you can find it here: The Greasy Pole 

I thought I would start this blog by looking at some things generally well known around promotion in the service, whilst also considering valuable aspects that often remain unknown.

Over the next couple of months, I’ll expand on some of these themes to ensure officers working to become ‘more promotable’ can benefit from FREE tips and insights to raise awareness and deliver their best performance when it matters.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Preparing ahead is a simple strategy for promotion success.

Adopting this approach will help confirm what you know, identify what you don’t and identify things you hadn’t even thought about knowing.

Imagine walking into your promotion board and every question the panel asks you is an unwelcome surprise.

You struggle to understand the relevance of the first question. You are uncomfortable. You find yourself struggling to string together a meaningful response. You wish the earth would open up and swallow you. It’s a big relief when it’s all over. You know afterwards in your heart that they didn’t see you at your best.

Does this happen? Yes. Is it entirely avoidable? Of course!

I was inspired to write this blog partly through speaking recently to a group of promotion candidates. Some honestly believed that being effective at their day job equated to being a good promotion candidate. Signposting them to certain information resources came as a significant revelation with one commenting:

You don’t know what you don’t know, how are you supposed to know this stuff?

This brought to mind the following quote by Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Secretary of Defence:

As we know, there are known knowns; these are things we know we know. We also know that there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. – Donald Rumsfeld

People initially thought Rumsfeld’s speech was nonsense but I believe the statement makes good sense.

Scientific research often investigates known unknowns, so when it comes to awareness levels and knowledge in the context of preparing for police promotion opportunities, I thought it might be helpful to reflect upon Rumsfeld’s statement and some of its points.

Known Knowns

Things we know we know about promotion selection processes include some of the steps involved:

  • Written applications
  • Psychometric tests
  • Interview/board

Written applications

The initial application could be a full competency-based format or a simple registration form. If the former, there’ll be a requirement to align your evidence or examples to your own force promotion framework (CVF/MLF/PPF).

Word limits apply too, ranging between 250 words to a couple of thousand.

We know some forces don’t require applications, instead, they require first-line supervisors to ‘write up’ individuals to be considered for promotion.

Psychometric tests

Additional gateway stages involving psychometric tests are now a common feature of promotion selection processes.

These include Inductive Reasoning Tests (IRT) or ‘diagrammatic style’ tests, designed to measure abilities important in solving problems.

Another variant is the Situational Judgment Test (SJT), which assesses the ability to choose the most appropriate action in workplace situations. It’s considered to be a particularly effective measure of managerial and leadership capabilities. There are others.


This is perhaps the best of the known knowns.

An interview is a consistent theme and perhaps the most recognised component of a selection process AKA a promotion board.

Although it’s well known, individuals still turn up and knock on this particular door of opportunity significantly unprepared for it. That’s despite weeks and sometimes months of advance notice.

The timescales for a promotion selection process are a known, along with the fact that line supervisors are likely to recommend you for promotion and hopefully offer assistance.

We also know there is always more to learn and support is appreciated and valued.

Last but no means least, we know there will be more candidates than posts – ergo competition.

Known Unknowns

Things we do not know. 

In my experience, it is not unusual for aspiring officers to not know the role they are applying for. Being able to speak about it for five minutes is beyond them initially.

It’s easily admitted by most and quickly remedied but it’s a significant knowledge gap for anyone hoping to impress a promotion panel. Having a good understanding of the role also facilitates confidence in being proactive in written applications and verbally in an interview.

Another known unknown is lack of understanding around the type of interview or kind of questions candidates will face. Again, this gap is easily filled and awareness improved, so that reasonable anticipation of questions and potential responses can be considered and factored into effective preparation.

Wider challenges facing policing, a candidate’s force or what they will do as a newly promoted Sergeant or Inspector to contribute to successful policing are frequently recognised as known unknowns. A few choice questions can quickly identify these gaps and get to work on filling them so that a candidate is not only aware but has an in-depth insight and focus on what they have to offer the force in tackling these issues as a newly promoted leader, manager and supervisor.

A simple thing that can bypass candidates is the value of guidance and instructions issued by their force for the forthcoming promotion process. This often includes specific detail about what is important for the organisation at the time, qualities the force is looking for, guidance around the process and important rules to follow (e.g. Word limits)

Lots of candidates know they don’t know these things, but they attempt the process anyway. Nothing wrong with that in itself, but preparing ahead to get it right first time is about working smart as well as hard.

Especially when support is often hidden in plain sight.

Unknown Unknowns

These are things we don’t know we don’t know. For example, did you know that different forces have different promotion processes in place at different times for different ranks?

Not a lot of people know that  – Michael Caine

Most unknown unknowns can be thought of as ‘impossible to imagine in advance’. In other words, unidentified risks.

Preparing you to be an all round better candidate, confident and aware with a rounded perspective on leadership and your own development needs, can take time. The benefit is that it stands you in good stead for any process.

Discovering your unknown unknowns is about converting them to known unknowns so that they become manageable. You can focus and fill your gaps from there.

Why Are the Goal Posts Changing? 

Unknown unknowns become apparent or may ‘surface’ in coaching conversations. Alternatively, the ‘penny drops’ in a promotion Masterclass, where an unknown issue is highlighted and can then be expanded upon as required.

What occurs out there in the wider world and how it links to changing requirements in the context of promotion processes is one example. Common questions officers ask include:

  • Why are the goalposts changing?
  • Why are all these tests being introduced?
  • What have they got to do with policing?

These unknown unknowns remain unanswered for many.

It comes as surprise news that the World Economic Forum (WEF) has identified specific skills needed – up to 2020 and beyond – by leaders and line managers across various industries. It detailed them in a report the ‘Future of Jobs’ as follows:

  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • People Management
  • Co-ordinating with others
  • Judgement and Decision Making
  • Cognitive Flexibility.

Now overlay them across assessment tests in current police promotion selection processes and you can quickly recognise links, understand the context and get to work on practising assessment tests in advance to close your gaps. These skills are assessed against competencies described in your force promotion framework (e.g. decision making)

Indicators of Leadership High Potential

A common unknown is that the College of Policing (COP) has produced a document, which details indicators of leadership high potential. You’ll find it as an appendix to fast-track promotion guidance.

It describes expectations and is helpful for aspiring promotion candidates to align against. You can recognise skills identified in the WEF ‘Future of Jobs’ report including Emotional intelligence, Critical thinking and Decision-making.


Image Reproduced with permission of the College of Policing.

7 Things Promotion Boards Also Look For

Finally, if you are preparing ahead and would like something to trigger and support your thinking, you might discover some known knowns, known unknowns or even unknown unknowns in my FREE 50 page downloadable guide: ‘7 Things Promotion Boards Also Look For’.

In my next two blogs, I’ll focus on the roles of Sergeant and Inspector.

Until then, wherever you are on your promotion journey I hope I have provided you with some food for thought.



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The Greasy Pole Police Promotion by Steve Cooper



The aim of a promotion selection process is to fill positions in the police service and to promote the best available people. These are usually individuals whose depth and breadth of preparation underpins hard-won success.

The Free Dictionary describes the ‘greasy pole’ as being used to talk about someone’s attempts to reach a more successful position in their career. You don’t hear the term so much today but economic and political drivers acting on the police service are constantly changing the landscape, not least in the field of promotions.

A mix and match approach with selection processes across various forces currently includes supervisor recommendations, applications, psychometric tests, presentations and interviews.

Whichever system is in place some people will always be dissatisfied. There is no one best system, but achieving a promotion is a significant challenge. It should be. It’s a competition, with many more qualified individuals than vacancies.

Preparing for nine months leading up to a competitive Sergeants selection process (involving an application stage, a situational judgment test and an interview) was the approach taken by one of my successful clients.

“It’s a very hard process, but so worth it if you are willing and able to put the time and work in”.

Entering a promotion selection process can be like purchasing a ticket for a roller coaster ride, with highs of elation and lows of dejection. The experience of many who embark on this aspect of career progression is that there are no guarantees. Not everyone succeeds. Resilience and perseverance are called for. Some individuals repeat the same things whilst expecting a different outcome. The right support at the right time can make a significant difference to how you approach a promotion as this client discovered.

“I’ve tried for 9 years and sat 7 boards. This year I fully embraced your masterclass and passed”

Different routes exist and promotion is not referred to as the greasy pole for nothing. Some people believe the promotion is owed to them, a reward for past performance. This is a mistake. Promotion is awarded to those offering the best future for the organisation and you may need an overwhelming appetite to advance in what is a highly competitive environment.

Despite all this, promotions still tick over as does policing. With some hard smart work, you too can achieve promotion success. A continuous professional development plan, taking responsibility for your learning and a positive attitude are vital considerations if you want to be ‘match fit’ for opportunities that may arise. A clear focus on working towards your goal is required and solid preparation is the key to success.

If you choose promotion as your future it’s wise to be prepared today.

To download a free guide for Promotion Frameworks and 7 Things Promotion Interview Boards also look for click here now or to download Steve Coopers Sergeant Promotion Toolkit please click here!.



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