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SGT Harry Tangye “Break a window or stab a police dog?” the law is the same



SGT Harry Tangye Storm is a 3-year-old German Shepherd Police dog, who his owner Jim adores.  They have  spent those 3 hard years nurturing each other through 13 initial weeks hard training and numerous courses and training sessions since.  They are always at each others side, can wholeheartedly trust each other, and will gladly put themselves in harm’s way to protect the other from evil.  The bond is unequivocal.

It’s a Saturday afternoon, and Jim is steering his Police Ford Focus Estate through the back streets towards the report of the burglary.  It’s been called in by a neighbour and it sounds like a good one.  A man in his late teens has been seen dropping down from a flat roof at the rear of a rather affluent looking detached house which backs on to some fields.  He’s been seen running with a small clutch of items towards the  hedge of the rear garden when the witness sensibly decides to give up the view in priority for phoning the police.

Storm is in the back of the Focus in his cage.  A beautiful glossy chestnut perfect specimen of a German Shepherd.  He’s in his prime. He’s spent years of anticipating his masters driving, every swerve and tight turn, ensuring he leans heavily on the opposing foreleg to keep himself balanced.  Jim knows his best friend is holding on for dear life so tries to drive more smoothly, more than impossible in these back alleyways. Blue lights on this sunny day, but no sirens as we don’t want to alert the burglar to our imminent arrival, the payback is the angry stares from the elderly couple walking on the side of the road who glance over to see which boy racer is disturbing their peace.  “Ah those cops again, not like in our day dear” he mutters to his wife, “Where’s their sirens then?  We should complain”

His wife ignores him like she has for the past 45 years and continues walking with her stick and her arm linked to her husband,  watching the rear of the police car disappear around the next corner, the blue light extinguishing any wish she has herself, to make a complaint.

Jim is nearing the scene now and runs his checklist in his mind.  Tracking equipment just where it should be and best have Storm’s toy with me for when he finds the burglar, after all, that’s what he thinks he is looking for!

The car grinds to a halt slightly scuffing the kerb on the alloy.  He winces knowing that that one will show no doubt, and he will have to report it later.  He’s out of the car and the neighbour is immediately pacing towards him with an excited urgency on her face.  The car rocks even with Jim out of it as Storm knows what’s coming next.  He delights in the hunt that is to follow, and he can’t wait to get started.  Jim fixes his harness and tracking lead, a sign to Storm he isn’t going for a gentle stroll, but this is a business.  The information is gathered as to where the suspect was last seen and having updated control room on the radio, Jim is off, being dragged by storm through the rear privet hedge.  A thorn catches Jim’s hand and scratches a deep gouge.  He curses and half-heartedly apologises to the smiling neighbour waving him off like a teenage son going off to college.  Storm is pulling steadily at the lead, trying to drag him at a pace he would rather go if left to his own devices, but Jim knows he has to keep him at just the right pace.  Fast enough to make ground but not too fast so he runs past the scent which may have turned direction.

It’s only a matter of minutes before he sees a track leading from the main road to a ramshackle shed at the far side of the field he is now in.  Between him and the shed, Storm is lapping up the scent.  He is transfixed on it and it is leading directly to it.  He wonders if there is a getaway car parked there, or whether that is where he will find his quarry hiding.  He has to hurry, radioing for backup as he nears.  He can hear the Police helicopter in the far distance, the thumping of the rotor blades breaking through the pounding of his heart in his chest.  His heart beating from not only the stress it’s been under on the track, but also charged by the adrenaline preparing him for what they may face ahead.

Up to the corner of the shed and no car has left yet, so maybe there is none. Storm rounds the corner as Jim shortens the lead for more control, and he hears barking.  Storm is telling him he has found his quarry and now wants his toy reward.  He’s bouncing off his front paws throwing his head forward with a full row of deadly sharp and powerful teeth in the fullest view Storm can parade to the terrified victim. It’s quick but Storm has lunged forward, Jim’s confused for a second as he’s meant to stand his ground unless threatened, but then he sees the flash of a silver blade streaking across the darkened shade of the shed wall, a yelp but the fight Storm has started now continues relentlessly, growling with a fixed jaw clamped heavily and stubbornly onto the victim’s thigh, shaking his head like a terrier on a rag doll, but the blade reigns down again and the cries from Storms victim and from Storm continue.

Jim’s utter horror seeps to the surface and he’s trying to pull his beloved friend to safety whilst kicking out at the assailant.  The knife flashes across again, and catches Jim’s hand, but he doesn’t feel it, he knows that now he is fighting for not only his dog’s life, but his own.  He realises they are alone with a frenzied attacker who will do anything to get away from this situation.  Jim now kicks hard between the legs of the offender and immediately the knife is flung to the side and the surrendered assailant shouts, “Alright, alright, no more”.

He pulls Storm away in a standoff position and Storm shouts his displeasure at his quarry.  Jim leaves the lead just a little longer than usual to ensure the burglar doesn’t think of running, and maybe if there is another accidental nip, then so be it.  Jim is angry, very angry, but he’s proud of his little boy, his best friend and as the helicopter swings around at low level drowning out the sounds of the barking, Jim glances down the side of Storm and sees blood, then quickly up to his shoulder, blood, and then his head, blood, and it’s too fresh, too much to be the burglar, no,  please let it not be, but it’s dripping, and dripping fast.  Jim shouts on the radio for a car fast, he needs to get help for his friend.  Storm slumps to his haunches, and then he lays gently down on his side, he shouldn’t do that, he should still be barking until called off, but he’s lost interest.  Jim glares at the burglar lying down leaning against the shed wall holding his wounds, shouting at him, “Move one inch and I will kill you myself”

Jim cradles his friend.  He’s just 3 years old not even half way through his working life, so much time, so much effort, so much training, and so much love, so much care, so much trust, and loyalty.  And then it’s no more as Storm ebbs away.  He’s replaced by a calm and peaceful tranquillity, a peace that is still only in Jim’s head as he is distracted for a second by the helicopter dipping it’s imaginary wing and swinging off to the side as if a gannet saying goodbye to a dying gull caught in a gale.   He stands over Storm whose chest has stopped rising, and weeps, placing the toy next to his beloved friends head.  “You caught him Storm, you caught him, my friend”.

Officers take away the burglar, but one remains to put a hand on the shoulder of Jim.  He watches a broken window of the shed reflecting the light of the sun against the chrome name tag of Storm, and a cloud moves across the sun, snuffing the last sparkle from Storm.

This is an account that is not based on any particular incident but is similar to a very large number over the years.  Currently in the UK, the injuries to Storm which caused his death are the equivalent of breaking the window in the shed.  It’s considered criminal damage according to the law.  In the USA and Canada, dogs are considered Police Officers and protected in law as such.  Please sign this petition to support having any assault on a police dog or horse be treated in a way fitting for the offence itself.  To be treated as what they are, living and breathing animals which are constantly put in harm’s way, to protect ourselves and others.  I think we owe that to them.

Please support #FinsLaw and support over 73K people by adding your name to the petition here.



Trev Sherwood is the founder & blogger at the UK’s Leading Crime & Policing News. Delivering you breaking news, insightful analysis, legislation & positive news!

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Leadership Grounded in Service Delivery by Steve Cooper



We have teamed up with Steve Cooper Police Promotion coach to bring you free tools and resources to help with your Police Promotion prep, Steve Cooper is one of the leading police promotion coaches in the United Kingdom.

Thanks to Steve and his company Rank Success is able to offer Police Hour readers free promotion tools that other coaches would charge you for, thanks to our great relation with Steve we are able to offer you this advice, information and valuable police promotion information and advice absolutely free of charge for the Police Hour readers looking for Police Promotion.

The focus of this exclusive editorial feature written by Steve Cooper is the ‘7 Things interview boards also look for in promotion candidates’ is knowledge of the policing environment you aspire to lead in.  Here are the 7 key traits which police promotion boards inherently value:

  1. Good awareness and understanding of vision or mission
  2. Self-aware, understanding personal values and development areas
  3. Demonstrates awareness of the current policing context
  4. A response that goes beyond the theoretical
  5. Able to evidence leadership impact in & beyond your team
  6. Well-structured and considered responses
  7. Demonstrate strong leadership skills grounded in service delivery

Thing 7: Demonstrating Strong Leadership Skills, Grounded in Service Delivery

“Know what it is you are trying to accomplish and ensure others involved know the same.” – Patrick D. McGowan

All Bound for Mu Mu Land…

Leadership and Service Delivery are concepts featuring in all UK police promotion frameworks; the Competency and Values Framework (CVF), Police Promotion Framework (PPF) and the Metropolitan Leadership Framework (MLF). You can read a summary of CVF/PPF/MLF here, where you will learn they are not to be confused with the ‘Justified Ancients of Mu Mu Framework’ (KLF). I digress… These frameworks are key expectations of both Sergeant and Inspector roles.

The promotion board will of course have a marking guide and six or so questions for you, based on the rank competencies.  Adhering to the relevant competencies of the rank you aspire to in your verbal responses is a good strategy. This is almost always based on a sound understanding of your force promotion framework and aligning your own evidence to it.

So when it comes to service delivery, what indicators could a promotion panel consider when deciding whether to promote YOU instead of ‘A. N. Other’ candidate they may interview? This blog will take you through some of the human considerations of these supposedly ‘objective’ competencies.

Focus on Delivery

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” – William James

Who why what

A ‘focus on delivery’ (internally and externally) is one indicator of potential. In raising your awareness around this, it may be helpful as part of your wider preparation to think through and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you someone who consistently sees things through to completion, delivering against challenging deadlines? 
  • Do you go above and beyond what is expected to get the job done? 
  • Do you take opportunities? 
  • Do you step out of your comfort zone to try new ways of doing things? 

I suspect the answer to all of these is a resounding yes. In the interests of preparing yourself ahead of a promotion opportunity however, you might want to delve a little deeper by asking yourself these further structured questions against the ones outlined above:

  • When did I do this? (CONTEXT)
  • What did I do? (SPECIFICS)
  • How did I do it? (ALIGNED TO COMPETENCIES)
  • Say to yourself “So what?” (RESULT / OUTCOME)

Spending some time reflecting like this can help you think through and develop some considered responses. You will be delivering these responses, to help the board see and hear that you are a candidate who considers and understands wider aspects. Someone who understands the role.

The Role

“When we all play our part the world will run as designed. Do your part, do it now!” – Temitope Ibrahim

What do you know about the role of Sergeant/Inspector? Everything or nothing? In truth it’s likely to be somewhere in between. Clearly, the more you know and understand about it the better. But both the Sergeant and Inspector role have expectations and responsibilities around managing resources, e.g. time, money, people and equipment linked to how service is delivered or provided.

Ask yourself – When have I managed resources to deliver, improve or recover service? 

What did you do? How did you do it? Then say to yourself “So what?” 

That might sound a little blunt, but it’s a good way of holding yourself accountable in formulating your evidence; it’s of limited use offering examples without a result or outcome. By limited use of course, I mean scoring 2 or 3 rather than 4 or 5 (out of 5). Remember that ‘good, better, BEST‘ mantra??

Promotion to Inspector

Service Delivery – Internal

“Within the context of reducing budgets and changing demand, the police service can continue to provide service but it will have to be delivered in different ways. We are determined to be as innovative as possible in meeting these challenges.” – From Reshaping Policing for the Public.

It is the Sergeant who, based on job knowledge and experience, directs the daily work of their team. With this in mind, what is your responsibility to deliver service internally? You’ll be expected to impart shared values, standards and culture to those under your supervision and as an aspiring promotion candidate, you’ll have a good idea of the kind of working environment you want to foster for your team. One in which people feel supported and where they are free to innovate, thrive and excel. Why is this important?

To ascertain your focus around this, the board might want to hear about your leadership and how you will set, communicate and reinforce standards to ensure service delivery and promote ethical behaviour.

Service Delivery – External

“The police service is under unprecedented pressure, having to deal simultaneously with financial austerity and changing patterns of crime. The police need to better understand the changing nature of demand on their services.” – Rick Muir

The effective investigation of crime, alleviating anti-social behaviour in communities and keeping the public informed all drive and maintain public confidence.

As an Inspector your role will include delivering and implementing plans in addition to allocating and monitoring the quality and progress of work relating to these and other aspects of service delivery.

  • So what do you know about wider challenges the service faces, particularly relating to understanding and/or managing demand?
  • What is your force doing well at the moment?
  • What is not being done so well? Why?
  • How can things be done more effectively and/or efficiently?
  • What will you do as a new Inspector to help the organisation move forward?

Addressing some or all of the above points and questions will help to elevate your awareness and increase your focus around service delivery. The name of the game.



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Promotion Interview Ahead? Don’t Let Al Capone Get You by Steve Cooper



We have teamed up with Steve Cooper Police Promotion coach to bring you free tools and resources to help with your Police Promotion prep, Steve Cooper is one of the leading police promotion coaches in the United Kingdom.

Thanks to Steve and his company Rank Success is able to offer Police Hour readers free promotion tools that other coaches would charge you for, thanks to our great relation with Steve we are able to offer you this advice, information and valuable police promotion information and advice absolutely free of charge for the Police Hour readers looking for Police Promotion.

The focus of this exclusive editorial feature written by Steve Cooper is the ‘7 Things interview boards also look for in promotion candidates’ is knowledge of the policing environment you aspire to lead in. As a reminder, here are the 7 key traits which police promotion boards inherently value:

  1. Good awareness and understanding of vision or mission
  2. Self-aware, understanding personal values and development areas
  3. Demonstrates awareness of the current policing context
  4. A response that goes beyond the theoretical
  5. Able to evidence leadership impact in & beyond your team
  6. Well-structured and considered responses
  7. Demonstrate strong leadership skills grounded in service delivery

Thing 6: Promotion Interview Ahead? Don’t Let Al Capone Get You

“Be precise. A lack of precision is dangerous when the margin for error is small.” – Donald Rumsfeld

A police promotion interview is arguably the most important element of a promotion selection process. This post is about getting the structure right. Good structure allows the panel to witness your communication skills and abilities first hand.

The focus of this 6th blog in this series of ‘7 Things Interview Boards Also Look for in Promotion Candidates’ is well-structured and considered interview responses.

The good news is that the necessary skills and abilities can be learned and developed. Unsurprisingly, those who pay attention to this are candidates who tend to stand out. Indirectly, the board members are also likely get an appreciation and impression of your attitude and prior commitment to preparation. They may even ask, “What have you done to prepare?”

The board want to know:

  • Are you a good risk?
  • Do you have the right skills to take the substantive position?
  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you do the job?
  • Do you act and speak as a leader, supervisor and manager?

‘Well structured and considered’ hints at a level of preparation that goes beyond simply turning up on the day, hoping all goes well and ‘winging it’.

Avoid Al Capone

Typically you will be asked around half a dozen questions in a promotion interview.

Police promotion scattergun approach

If you prepare sufficiently, you’ll be better equipped to respond effectively. If you don’t prepare, you run the risk of defaulting to the ‘Al Capone’ approach.

This is where you find yourself ‘machine gunning’ your words in a scattergun, indiscriminate or haphazard way, hoping you are saying the right things. But inside you may secretly be wishing you had made more of an effort to prepare yourself.

The opposite approach is silence. Having lots to say, but nothing will come out because you are stuck: ‘Speaker’s block’ if you like. Nerves get in the way and the words just don’t seem to flow. Incidentally, this is one of the biggest fears expressed when it comes to interviews. A commitment to some smart preparation can avoid these shortcomings and support you in developing a more confident approach.

The board members will be writing down a summary of what you say. Time spent considering how you might respond is often the difference between success and failure. It also boosts your confidence, because you become more familiar with what is expected.

Sshhhh: Take a moment…

“Speak in haste, repent at leisure”

Listen to the interview question

Just because you have been asked a question by the board, that doesn’t mean you have to respond in a nanosecond. It’s important to listen first.Take a moment to register the question. Listening is a leadership and communication skill and it’s something that can be developed as part of your preparation. Good candidates are tuned into that.

Once you are clear about what it is that you have been asked, you may want to consider a short ‘opening statement’. This is a precursor to your main answer. It’s one way to buy yourself a little bit of extra thinking time, whilst still considering your main response. An opening statement is something I encourage all candidates to consider and it’s an approach that seems to work quite well.

You can see how an opening statement might be used in the example response featured below.

Structure, Structure, STRUCTURE!

“I thrive in structure. I drown in chaos.” Anna Kendrick

Structuring your response supports a professional delivery by keeping you focused on what you are saying and the order to how you are saying it. There are various structures you can choose so the important thing is to find one that works for you. Using structure supports your confidence, which in turn helps you relax and more easily convey your appealing credentials.

Structured interview responses

The following feedback from one of my clients, David, helps demonstrate the value of using structure…

“In my board I used STRUCTURE STRUCTURE STRUCTURE. The biggest boost I felt as I walked through the door was confidence in my preparation. This allowed me to relax relatively given the situation. As I relaxed, I felt my answers flowed and I was able to display passion and commitment. I am overjoyed at having attained the rank of Inspector”

One structure you might use is ‘STAR’. It is well known and used widely. It stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. It’s a commonly used aid to help ensure that your verbal responses include the necessary information the board need for scoring. STAR can be adapted, but note it doesn’t ‘fit’ all questions or scenarios, such as those which do not require an example.


“By stretching yourself beyond your perceived level of confidence you accelerate your development of competence” – Michael Gelb

What you say is important. The dictionary tells us that ‘competence’ means the ability to do something successfully or efficiently. That’s what the board are looking to find out about you. Competencies communicate HOW the organisation wants people to behave in certain roles. Therefore the main ‘content’ of your responses will need to reflect the relevant competency or personal quality that each question alludes to.

This is where it pays dividends to do some homework on the frameworkyour force uses for promotion, e.g. the Policing Professional Framework (PPF), Metropolitan Leadership Framework (MLF) or the Competency and Values Framework (CVF).

I encourage my clients to not just know the framework, but also to understand it. A cursory read through is not enough. Becoming familiar with the competencies being assessed and being able to explain them, at least in summary, is a professional approach. Better performing candidates make that commitment to themselves. Once you have an understanding of the competencies, you’ll be able to verbalise and ‘make links’ to important issues including the role, mission, vision, values, adding value to your response.

Note: Some forces may provide the candidate with a hard copy of the questions at the start of the interview. Whilst that may make things easier in some respects, only well prepared candidates are likely to be able to exploit any potential this may offer.

Delivery – So what DOES an effective response look like?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place” – George Bernard Shaw

Using STAR as the structure, you can see what an effective response might look like in the following example. This example was used successfully as part of achieving promotion to Sergeant. It’s a Constable to Sergeant level question, where the competency being assessed is Public Service from the Policing Professional Framework (PPF).

Here’s the PPF guidance:

[Demonstrates a real belief in public service, focusing on what matters to the public and will best serve their interests. Understands the expectations, changing needs and concerns of different communities, and strives to address them. Builds public confidence by talking with people in local communities to explore their viewpoints and break down barriers between them and the police. Understands the impact and benefits of policing for different communities, and identifies the best way to deliver services to them. Develops partnerships with other agencies to deliver the best possible overall service to the public].

Here’s the question:

“Please give an example of how you have built public confidence within the communities you serve”.

Pause: Let the panel members see you are thinking about & considering the question! And deliver…

Promotion interview delivery

Opening statement: “As Temporary Sergeant I am currently responsible for chairing meetings with partners, including council officials, housing providers and youth services. I know that alleviating antisocial behaviour in communities is a key driver of public confidence”.

Situation: “An increase in complaints arose recently because youths were engaging in ASB near homes occupied by vulnerable residents requiring repeated calls for service”.

Task: “My aims were to reduce demand and restore resident’s confidence”.

Actions: “Taking into consideration available resources, I implemented a proactive operation to tackle the problem. I utilised Police Community Support Officers supported by Special Constables. I considered a local dispersal order obtained via my Inspector, allowing officers to legally remove youths from areas. I personally briefed officers, focusing upon key offenders. I instructed that reports concerning enforcement action were to be submitted so I could follow up appropriate referrals. I spoke with partners arranging for warning letters to be issued. Throughout the operation I considered victims, partners and local residents by updating them to build trust/confidence in my commitment to resolve long term problems”.

Result: “Analysis of this operation over a two month period showed a 50% reduction in calls for service. Residents acknowledged improvements individually and collectively at community meetings and further updates were published using social media for wider community impact. Utilising Special Constables for proactive policing in this way contributed to their collective duty hours being the highest across the area. My debriefing identified learning around future working practices for sharing joint agency resources more effectively, which I am currently developing”.


  • The board may ask ‘supplementary questions’ to any main question. This is a means to ‘probe’ and get all the information required for scoring e.g. they may ask additionally, “What did you consider?” “What was the outcome?”. This can also be a way to encourage or support a nervous candidate who may have missed out some detail and who just needs a ‘nudge’ to connect with the rest of the information. The board want you to do well and this is a legitimate way help you get into your ‘flow.
  • The above is one example of what a well structured and considered response looks like. If you want to know what one sounds like and feels like, you’ll need to work through your own evidence and examples. Try it! If you don’t have any examples of your own to hand read this one out loud. Hear how you sound. Speaking normally it takes about two minutes. That’s a great start, but practising will fine tune your confidence and delivery. So don’t let Al Capone get you!

Taking Action…

All successful candidates have one thing in common: They took action.

If you are serious about preparing, why not download your very own digital guide NOW with 25+ structured examples of what works.




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Able to evidence leadership impact in & beyond your team by Steve Cooper



We have teamed up with Steve Cooper Police Promotion coach to bring you free tools and resources to help with your Police Promotion prep, Steve Cooper is one of the leading police promotion coaches in the United Kingdom.

Thanks to Steve and his company Rank Success is able to offer Police Hour readers free promotion tools that other coaches would charge you for, thanks to our great relation with Steve we are able to offer you this advice, information and valuable police promotion information and advice absolutely free of charge for the Police Hour readers looking for Police Promotion.

The focus of this exclusive editorial feature written by Steve Cooper is the ‘7 Things interview boards also look for in promotion candidates’ is knowledge of the policing environment you aspire to lead in. As a reminder, here are the 7 key traits which police promotion boards inherently value:

  1. Good awareness and understanding of vision or mission
  2. Self-aware, understanding personal values and development areas
  3. Demonstrates awareness of the current policing context
  4. A response that goes beyond the theoretical
  5. Able to evidence leadership impact in & beyond your team
  6. Well-structured and considered responses
  7. Demonstrate strong leadership skills grounded in service delivery

Thing 5: Able to Evidence Leadership Impact Within and Beyond Your Team

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Henry David Thoreau

Being required to write or talk about oneself in a leadership context can be difficult. Those who can do it confidently and pro-actively and who prevail in a promotion selection process are usually those who focused beforehand on developing their ability to do this.

In simple terms, that’s it.

Enter the Dragon’s Den

“I am far more likely to invest if the founding entrepreneurs have already invested in themselves.” – Duncan Bannatyne

Dragons DenI recently coached an officer to change their perspective of the interview panel, while developing their confidence to verbalise sound responses. Initially, they thought of their impending promotion interview opportunity as a ‘Dragons Den’ experience. On this TV show, entrepreneurs enter the ‘den’ to seek investment in their business ideas. Before they do that and in order to exploit the opportunity fully, they will practice their ‘pitch’. Some clearly do it better than others, and it shows. Competence in delivering their pitch is often underpinned by weeks and days of practice beforehand to maximise potential.

In this respect, leadership expectations of Sergeants and Inspectors include leading people, leading change and managing performance. Unsurprisingly, a promotion board may ask a couple of questions about them!

The leadership impact of Sergeants is essentially focused around team effectiveness. As police forces and other organisations become ‘flatter’ in hierarchy, it is likely Sergeants will also be leading ‘beyond their authority’ as ways of working develop and change.

For leadership impact of Inspectors, expectations may stretch beyond and across force wide teams, specialist departments, partner agencies or wider afield. It may include developing and implementing plans to influence organisations.

Considered practice and effort helps get this across well in your promotion application or interview responses. A few ‘dry runs’ practising your pitch to ‘the dragons’ ahead of your opportunity will help influence and impress them! More importantly, it will boost your ability and with that, your confidence.

If that is something that sounds worthwhile and you’d like to make a meaningful start, here is one way to practice taming the dragons before you have to. Imagine this as the very first question you are asked on your promotion board:

Why you?
Image:, used with permission from Microsoft

Why should anyone be led by you?

An effective response to this could easily put clear blue sea between you and other candidates. But you are unlikely to deliver an effective response without laying the foundations for it today, because it’s a hard question to answer.

Did I mention that it was a hard question? It’s probably the hardest leadership question for anyone to answer. Leadership academics Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones wrote a book with the same title. They found whenever they asked that particular question over ten years of research, often to a room of executives, the result was a sudden stunned hush. It’s difficult because it’s introspective. In order to do it and yourself justice, you have to reach inside yourself for the response.

As a promotion candidate seeking to be appointed to a formal leadership position as a Sergeant or Inspector, you might agree that whilst it is a testing question, it is also a fair one. Practice in answering this can prepare you well for any other leadership-based questions at any level of leadership.

Reality check: Nothing you have read about above matters in the slightest, if you are not taking action right now.

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” – Amelia Earhart

Taking action is the one thing that will move you closer to achieving any goal. You can choose to start right now.Building foundations

  • Treat it as a question in your promotion application.
  • Grab a pencil, get to work and start constructing a response.
  • Now imagine it as the only question in your promotion interview.
  • Consider and rehearse a verbal response.

This is one good way to start laying solid foundations for your promotion success. A valuable tool you’ll need to hand is the promotion framework that you will be assessed against.

Structuring your evidence: An example (Inspector level)

Promotion to InspectorLets take the Policing Professional Framework (PPF) to look at one example of leadership impact at Sergeant to Inspector level. It was used successfully to achieve promotion to Inspector after the officer contacted me for some assistance. This example is from my downloadable guide 25+ examples of what works in promotion applications.

The PPF very helpfully divides the vast subject of police leadership into three ‘personal qualities’ (aka behaviours/competencies). Here’s the framework guidance:

Leading change: [Positive about change, adapting rapidly to changing circumstances and encouraging flexibility in others. Identifies and implements improvements to service delivery, engaging people in the change process and encouraging them to contribute ideas. Finds more cost-effective ways to do things, taking an innovative approach to solving problems and considers radical alternatives].

Leading people: [Inspires people to meet challenging goals, maintaining the momentum of change. Gives direction and states expectations clearly. Talk positively about policing creating enthusiasm and commitment. Motivates staff by giving genuine praise, highlighting success and recognising good performance. Gives honest and constructive feedback to help people understand their strengths and weaknesses. Invests time in developing people by coaching and mentoring them, providing developmental opportunities and encouraging staff to take on new responsibilities].

Managing performance: [Translates strategy into specific plans and actions, effectively managing competing priorities with available resources. Takes a planned and organised approach to achieving objectives, defining clear timescales and outcomes. Identifies opportunities to reduce costs and ensure maximum value for money is achieved. Demonstrates forward thinking, anticipating and dealing with issues before they occur. Delegates responsibilities appropriately and empowers others to make decisions. Monitor progress and holds people to account for delivery, highlighting good practice and effectively addressing under-performance].

Here is the question posed:

“Please provide an example of when your leadership has improved performance.”

And here’s the officer’s evidence:

“The Great Summer Breeze (GSB) Festival experienced a significant rise in public complaints concerning Anti Social Behaviour.

As bronze commander with a shared mission to ensure our force remains a safe place to live, work and visit, I took ownership. I talked personally to complainants and wider stakeholders. I reviewed incident reports with them to gain a better understanding of issues from their perspective. Strong views were expressed concerning criminal damage, urinating outside properties and walking through gardens. Aware that alleviating ASB in communities is a driver of public confidence, I invited affected parties to a public meeting. My aims were to reduce ASB, manage expectations and restore confidence. I addressed the group, providing information/inviting feedback. I listened. Ideas discussed included volunteering. I developed this into an action group. I secured additional local authority resources and worked with operations department to ensure police resources were targeted more effectively around demand. I developed and implemented a revised Community Policing Plan. I conducted media interviews raising awareness/reassuring the wider community. To manage the impact of changes for police/civilians, I communicated frequently, remaining accessible for contact/queries.

Police overtime savings of £4000 were realised through empowering local residents to conduct tasks, which four police officers/PCSOs had traditionally completed. This included running the community office, delivering crime prevention information and ‘community intelligence’ updates. This is now recognised good practice for GSB festival. There were no further complaints. The resident’s association praised police commitment and local confidence was successfully restored. ASB reduced by 40%.”


“There is nothing so terrible as activity without insight.”- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The request (“Please provide an example of when your leadership has improved performance”) offers a valuable opportunity for any well-prepared candidateto evidence their leadership impact in and beyond the team.

Whether you are required to submit a written application as part of your force promotion selection process or not, structuring your evidence in this way to layout or ‘tell the story’ can help ensure it is aligned to the framework guidance provided.

As a starting point, it is imperative to answer the question, which this example does. It’s a professional response at Inspector level, demonstrated by…

  • A clear indication of strategic awareness, which is important at Inspector level e.g. shared mission, drivers of public confidence.
  • The individual’s leadership impact clearly extends to influencing partners and the wider community.
  • The importance of communicating, listening and seeking feedback whilst implementing changes is acknowledged.
  • The evidence alludes specifically to the Inspector’s role e.g. developing, implementing and reviewing plans.
  • You can clearly see/hear how the officer’s aims and the wider outcomewere achieved from the action/s described – aligned to the guidance (competence).
  • There is a strong outcome with specific results. Performance is managed and improved.

The structure used is ‘Problem > Action > Result‘ (PAR). It’s one way to structure evidence for your promotion application and/or your interview responses. It’s the structure this officer preferred to use, but you can find other structure options in my digital promotion interview guide.

Problem, Action, Result

It’s important to remember the actual content and context of the example can be any situation. This could include examples from neighbourhood policing, response, organisational change or critical incidents. The important thing is not to ramble but adhere closely to the framework guidance for top marks.

Tip: Once your evidence is drafted in this way, it can be verbalised and practised as a potential interview response.

No Guarantees

“I have no magic formula. The only way I know to win is through hard work”. – Don Shula

All of this is essentially about skills that can be developed. However, many candidates run out of time because they kick into action only when a promotion process opens. Cue panic mode! Others may simply need a bit of help pulling together the structure, polishing the final product or developing potential interview responses.

Police officers are effective at recognising evidence in investigations. It’s what they are trained to do. Unfortunately, when it comes to recognising evidencefrom operational experiences to support a promotion bid, this ability diminishes. It’s not what they are trained to do.

“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” – Arthur Conan Doyle


Coaching is one option to quickly raise your awareness and help bring relevant evidence into focus building a case for promoting you.

Alternatively, working in slower time to collate your best supporting examples and to understand your force promotion framework will assist with ‘blending in’ links with the role you aspire to. You can then consider your drafts against your force mission, vision and values. Any refinements or polish required to help you stand out can always be added from there.

This process can take months of work. So it’s not surprising that candidates like Rich, aiming for Inspector rank, like to accelerate things with a bit of help. Here’s a snippet from his last email to me:

“I managed to score 20/20 at local assessment, they knocked one mark off at moderation resulting in 19/20. Your guides obviously helped me shape my examples into exactly what they were looking for.”

I remind officers that there is no ‘magic formula’ or guarantee for success in writing a promotion application or preparing ahead of an interview board. It’s hard work, but if you need support, there are some tried and tested ways to start marshalling what you have to offer and to work smarter.


“I went to a book store and asked the saleswoman, ‘Where’s the self-help section?’ She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.” – Steven Wright

It’s not only Sergeant and Inspector candidates who experience uncertainty when attempting to translate or align their experience to meet the criteria for promotion

Hopscotch through police promotion

Hop: When he first decided to attend a Rank Success Promotion Masterclass,Jon was a Sergeant looking to make the hop to Inspector.

Skip: He did so first time. The skip to Chief Inspector followed shortly afterwards.

Jump: Jon invested in his development again prior to successfully making the next jump to Superintendent. Here are a few words from Jon about how he chose to prepare beforehand:

“I found [the Inspector example guide] really useful to see how evidence should be structured against the PPF and provide a detailed and evidenced written response to the behaviours… also to structure my interview examples and how best to create a clear vision for what I would demonstrate and achieve in the next rank.

I particularly liked the way the guide laid out the different word count examples for example 250, 300 and 500 words and how to answer force specific questions around personal statements of what I would bring to the rank.

The guide helped me broaden my thinking and awareness for the higher rank of Superintendent. I feel it would be equally of use to those applying for Chief Inspector and Superintendent, because I have yet to see anything which gives candidates this clear advice and guidance in order to best structure their evidence to be successful in a police promotion process.”

Solid Commitment

Read more about Jon and others who successfully evidenced their leadership impact beyond their teams. All of them have two things in common. A solid personal commitment to prepare thoroughly, backed up with MASSIVE determined action.

Why not start evidencing YOUR leadership impact NOW?



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