Hello, readers, this is my personal blog it’s kindly being hosted by Police Hour I’m very pleased to be here I hope to cast a light on how difficult it can be to live with someone you love with severe mental health issues .
I’m going to begin at the end sounds odd I know but you will see why as you read on .
1st of July the anniversary of my mum’s suicide . I have tried to come to terms with this over many years it’s been 25 years now since she finally succeeded in ending her life. Even when my Mum was alive she was the subject of contention resulting in many beatings that I received from my ex-husband and one of many attempts on my life.
I was still married to my now ex-husband when this happened and if I mentioned my mothers name this would cause a huge argument between my ex husband and I he would smash up everything in the house that meant anything to me and then he would beat me up so the whole subject was not allowed to be spoken about so I had to bottle up my feelings and did not have time to grieve like a normal person would so it has never really been addressed .
So how do you address your mother committing suicide ? You don’t really you go through the motions you cry uncontrollably you try to think of different things you could have done maybe should of done but didn’t quicker clever ways in which you could of prevented it every night you save her but every morning you wake up and the reality hits you that you were only dreaming and you didn’t save her at all but your dream was so real and so vivid you think she’s still alive I remember once shortly after loosing my mum I had such a dream and I’ve no idea why I rang my dad and asked how my mum was I’d somehow blocked out reality and without thinking rang up my Dad to talk to her . How strange the mind works sometimes.
My mother was clinically depressed and a paranoid schizophrenic life for her was traumatic at best getting from one day to the next when she had a bad day we all had a bad day she struggled to face life and was making constant attempts at taking her own life.
Reminds me of a quote
“There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow it hides itself in insanity. While this may not seem beneficial, it is. There are times when reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain, the mind must leave reality behind”
Here is the story My mum’s childhood was no normal childhood my Nan was a woman to be reckoned with my grandad was lovely from what I remember of him as he died when I was very young in the hospital of pneumonia. My Nan owned a dressmaking firm a very rich lady in her own right self-made and also ruthless with my mother. As early as my mum could remember she was making dresses for my Nan’s business sat on a sewing machine day in day out while her sister went to school and was showered in all the privileges my mother had nothing.
I strongly believe this form of mental abuse was the basis for my mother’s declining mental health twinned with a hereditary mental illness in our family she really didn’t stand much chance.
So then much to my mother’s delight she met my Dad he was much older than her and they got married and had children … 4 of us my mother was at her happiest when she was pregnant.
Growing up was a bit like the Stepford wives movie whereas we had a big house fancy car competition ballroom and Latin dancing, private language lessons, private music lessons and so it all seems great doesn’t it??.
Behind the scenes, we weren’t allowed to bring friends home because god forbid they saw our mother having one of her meltdowns the embarrassment of it would have shattered the subterfuge
Coming home from school entailed hiding behind the very large oak tree in our front drive checking to see if the car was in the drive and if it was. God help you if she was awake she would start shouting at you the moment you walked in the door about anything she could find to have a go about.
Then if you were lucky you could run upstairs shut your bedroom door and hoped that she got tired of screaming at you from behind it and went to bed , or if you were really unlucky in my sisters case she decided one morning my sister was scruffy and she ironed her school shirt on her back where she stood.
I was at the top of the staircase screaming my head off trying to make her stop. To this day my sister has an imprint of an iron on her back. I rang my Dad at work he owned his own business and hell broke loose he came home and my Mums primary target ” my Dad ” would get attacked with whatever she had in her hand first , a knife, rolling pin, ornaments and him would take all that from her and not raise one hand in anger to her .
My experience well my mother had a whole new ball game with me. I got the shouting and the screaming I remember the one time I ever saw my Dad go to raise a hand and then he didn’t he just shook her was when I had come home from school and my Mum decided that the clothes I had on were all wrong and she dragged me upstairs by my hair and she ripped them off me and started kicking and punching me, I went running from her but then she grabbed me again and threw me down the spiral staircase. She shouted for a while and I stayed where I was at the bottom of the stairs naked and cold until she got tired and went to bed.
I then rang my Dad and told him what happened, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so angry in my life I was black and blue. You also have to remember that in those days to involve the police was such an embarrassment there wasn’t the awareness there is now and domestic violence was taboo and hidden the subject of whispers and rumours of depraved women going to dirty refugees to escape their perpetrator and for a man to be the victim was totally unheard of .
During this time my Mum had ECT treatment and was committed 6 months to the mental asylum as they were in those days and from then on came the suicide attempts and serious attempts she nearly died several times taking overdose after overdose and life in between the shouting at my Dad, blaming him for everything life was a round of phone the ambulance phone the doctor.
Eventually, all my siblings left home as soon as they could my eldest sister first then my brother then my other sister leaving me. They came home every now and then only to go through the next round of suicide attempts.
There was one occasion where before they had all left my Mum came at my Dad with a knife and my Dad had no choice but to defend himself he got her pinned on the floor and disarmed her but as he did to this day I’ve no idea why she screamed at him ” this will be your fault I hate you” and the next thing she eyed the glass door to the lounge and put her leg through it , I saw her do it, blood everywhere she severed her main artery in her calf there was literally a fountain of blood pumping out of her leg, I rang the ambulance the police came as well only for my mother to continue shouting at the ambulance crew trying to treat her ! Dear bloody god, I remember shouting at her to let them treat her, in the end, the police officer shouted at her and that was all she wrote she shut up after that, and after a year and a half of operations on her leg it was never the same again another thing to blame my Dad for.
So my escape was horses, in the end, I used to run home grab my jods and my boots and spend my days mucking out and grooming the show jumpers I loved every minute of it to this day being around horses is the most I’m ever relaxed and I love horses the smells, the quiet breathing while your grooming and trimming were my therapy .
I eventually got my own horse, funnily enough, the only loving thing my Mum ever did she went against my father’s wishes to know my passion and she bought me a beautiful 15.2 Cleveland bay cross Arab. I paid for myself by working making sweets and desserts in the local pub. I am still friends with the girl I brought my horse from to this day.
So life was ok for a bit until I started getting male attention. It saddens my heart that my own mother was so jealous of me that she made moves on my very first boyfriend I didn’t know until after he dumped me. I then met my ex-husband she went to a whole new level with him, she lost weight bought new clothes changed her hair and one day when my ex-husband had had one too many to drink the night before and I had gone to college she made her move.
Unfortunately for me, I had lessons cancelled at college and I came home to be faced with her final plan.
I don’t want to write what occurred after that but you’re going to be thinking why did I marry this man at all? Well, I had got pregnant at 17 with him and sadly I lost the baby as it grew inside my tube and died inside of me. It was what you did then you married didn’t you it was the done thing save face all that. I justified marrying him in that I knew what she had done, I screamed at her and the first time in my life I slapped her around the face and horrified at myself, I then had to run out the house down the road after my now ex-husband as he decided after this he was going to kill himself I spent three hours talking him out of it.
My god, you must be thinking you arm chair critics why the hell did you marry that man ….. Well, I knew she had done it on purpose the penny dropped we all thought she was getting better but actually no !! She had other plans.
So I got married a double wedding with my eldest sister. My mum’s name was taboo but even then she pursued me she would come to the barracks to shout at me for hours and when I wouldn’t entertain her she would leave one day she shouted at my poor neighbour for 2 hours, she subsequently got banned from camp.
I then moved to Tidworth it was then that she finally managed to commit suicide.
My day began I went to work on camp in the kitchens I was at an officers mess that day and I remember walking through camp to get to where I was going only to be stopped my one of the guard sets , I wasn’t allowed a phone in those days and my Dad had rang the camp and told them and I was stopped and informed to ring my Dad.
I thought it was about another matter concerning my son and reported a resounding “No , tell him to get stuffed ” he then ran after me and said ” No you don’t understand it’s your mother ” , so I rang my Dad as soon as I got to the officers mess and I had the strangest phone conversation that went ” she’s finally done it” my Dad said, ” Ok ” I said “what hospital do I go to?”, ” No you don’t understand she’s done it” , ” Done what ?!”, I said more insistent this time, ” she’s killed herself she’s dead”, and slammed the phone down.
I sank to the floor and stayed there for a few minutes trying to process the information, eventually, I got up went into the kitchen and thought I need to go home but no one was around I was early. So I sat on the hotplate area floor until someone arrived not knowing if I wanted to cry or not. Events had unfolded that my mother had kicked my Dad out and then asked him to phone her every hour, my Dad did but in getting no answer he got worried and went back to the house, he could not get in with the key she had snapped the key in the lock ,my Dad putting two and two together called the Police and they broke in and my mother wasn’t to be found straight away.
” Done what ?!”, I said more insistent this time, ” she’s killed herself she’s dead”, and slammed the phone down. I sank to the floor and stayed there for a few minutes trying to process the information, eventually, I got up went into the kitchen and thought I need to go home but no one was around I was early.
So I sat on the hotplate area floor until someone arrived not knowing if I wanted to cry or not. Events had unfolded that my mother had kicked my Dad out and then asked him to phone her every hour, my Dad did but in getting no answer he got worried and went back to the house, he could not get in with the key she had snapped the key in the lock ,my Dad putting two and two together called the Police and they broke in and my mother wasn’t to be found straight away .
She had cut the Hoover wire from the Hoover and hung herself on the other side of the bedroom door, my Dad had pushed passed the Police Officers opened the door the wire snapped and my mother’s body fell on him. My Dad was so traumatised the Police took him to the hospital and for three days no one knew Mum was dead.
I went home and I told my ex-husband and at first, he hugged me then the next series of events were one of the nastiest things I can remember him doing.
He told me ” Good the bitch is dead, you’re not going to her funeral over my dead body, ” I thought he was kidding but when I went down to the families office the next day to get a train warrant to go I was told that he had refused to sign it over to me . I spent the whole day back and forth with him and the families office and still, he refused.
So, in the end, I managed to get a lift with my brother. We had the funeral and my brother dropped me off the same day.
As he was worried what he would do to me my brother came in the house with me, we couldn’t find him so we went upstairs and just as we did we found him with a set up of mountain ropes strung from the loft hanging in the spare room. We got him down straight away and nothing was done he was ok just bruised. I was in total shock bereft from the funeral now having to face my ex-husband’s attempt at the same thing.
After this, I was lost for a while I just went to work and tried to process events in my head, lucky for me I had good friends.
I hope by writing this it highlights both mental health and domestic violence it’s not always women that are abused my Dad was for many years I’m proud to say he never lifted a finger to my mother he will probably never forgive me for writing this, the truth covered up to save face to save anyone knowing the truth, because god forbid ! there, two friends, I have still to this day that knows they will read this and I know they are going to be proud of me.
If you take anything away from this blog know this , some people are in such trauma that they physically cannot cope with life they struggle to get through one day to the next spiralling into a mass of depression that no amount of help or counselling can reach I really believe this as it’s the only way I can rationalise my mums suicide in my brain. If someone is that determined enough no matter how many times you stop them they will succeed eventually.
I changed my life I got out of the circle of violence, it can be done , in life we make choices I made many wrong ones there were moments of clarity and moments of desperation but everyone has choices make your choices wisely keep good friends in your life and no matter how crazy and bereft you might feel your friends are the most important thing ………stable sensible friends . I owe a lot to one particular person they kept me going and never gave up on me they told me I was worth something and that I will never forget.
So 10 years down the line I’ve achieved so much even I find it difficult some days I have to pinch myself that I’m not dreaming I successfully secured a job in the police and since last year a voluntary role as a special.I have run 6 marathons so far and 19 half marathons my original blog” people .my story ” has been used by three police forces for their domestic violence campaigns I have attended white ribbon day twice as a guest for the police and I’ve met some outspeople.I’m an advisor for my friend Sam Billingham’s charity SODA Survivors Of Domestic Abuse I’ve been running marathons and raising money to help other victims .
This hasn’t come without its scars I don’t have full use of my left hand I can’t have children and a permanent medical condition caused by too many blows to my head I was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease about 7 years ago .
I hadn’t had anything for ages when my beautiful step mum lost her fight with cancer May 2015 I thought I was ok but I bottled it all up tried to support everyone else and the result was a set of 4 attacks in the space of 10 days which was so intense it caused hearing loss and permanent tinnitus. Since then I had another massive bout July 2016 I had 64 attacks up until I had surgery on my ear August 2016 to fit a grommet and steroid injection into my middle ear as the last resort.
I have since been diagnosed with migraine variant balance disorder on top of Ménière’s disease one of three people on the hospital books with both . Sadly I was not given much choice than to resign from the specials so I no longer hold that position as from Aug 2016. To add to this after over two years and two operations and two procedures in a hospital to remove cervical cancer CIN 3 I have again gone back highly abnormal cervical smear and now it seems to be serious in that they think it’s a cancerous tumour I have to have major surgery .
Since then I had another massive bout July 2016 I had 64 attacks up until I had surgery on my ear August 2016 to fit a grommet and steroid injection into my middle ear as the last resort . I have since been diagnosed with migraine variant balance disorder on top of Ménière’s disease one of three people on the hospital books with both . Sadly I was not given much choice than to resign from the specials so I no longer hold that position as from Aug 2016. To add to this after over two years and two operations and two procedures in.
Sadly I was not given much choice than to resign from the specials so I no longer hold that position as from Aug 2016. To add to this after over two years and two operations and two procedures in the hospital to remove cervical cancer CIN 3 I have again gone back highly abnormal cervical smear and now it seems to be serious in that they think it’s a cancerous tumour I have to have major surgery .
But I’m a determined person I can bench press more than most blokes I try to keep as fit as my disability will allow me . I won’t let my past devour me it’s not going to happen I often have screaming nightmares about my domestic violence where I wake up sweating wondering where I am I have that moment of panic until I realise where I am . I won’t let my past define me instead I embrace it and write about it as almost a kind of therapy . I love this quote and I shall use it to close my blog thank you for reading .
” Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”
Policing & Tweeting the rise and fall
Policing & Tweeting in recent months has been subjected to lots of debate, There are four types of policing and tweeting accounts.
- The Corporate accounts with the big followings and the blue ticks
- The individual officers who have worked hard to build up accounts up by engaging with the public
- The anonymous officers behind the smoke screens, without these we’d not see every coin of policing.
- The divisional accounts and team accounts.
We’ll make our views a little clear when it comes to Tweeting and Policing, We don’t usually comment on the politics of things, But we feel we need to make the public aware that accounts are being shut down daily.
Since February 3rd we have been fighting for the rights of policing & tweeting. Cops in 2018 should not be banned from tweeting we will be gearing up our coverage we feel officers are being banned from twitter and replaced by Corp accounts that lack engagement and build barriers
— Police Hour (@PoliceHour) March 12, 2018
There are people out there who express their views on own personal accounts that believe cops should not have their personal accounts and should be silenced while they are free to tweet their views. They lack followers therefore do not understand the power of the police & twitter
— Police Hour (@PoliceHour) March 12, 2018
How many more police officers are going to be banned from their personal twitter accounts? While forces comms team deny they are being culled and controlled with new shared corporate accounts with next to no followers one step forward twenty steps backwards.
— Police Hour (@PoliceHour) March 9, 2018
Policing and Twitter taught us cops are in fact truly dedicated people, who care about the foundations of policing and allow us to see a snapshot of their passionate, dedicated and busy tour of duty with a human touch..don’t beat them down! Grown them use them to your strengths
— Police Hour (@PoliceHour) February 27, 2018
We are very concerned to hear that a number of policing tweeting accounts are being forced to stop tweeting or to only tweet in shift this is not 2006 anymore when accounts were hunted down by PSD disciplined and removed, this is public engagement like never before this is 2018
— Police Hour (@PoliceHour) February 3, 2018
Corporate tweeting builds the foundations, But Officers turn them into homes and welcome us in.
Corporate tweeting is also a good start for policing and tweeting, it allows the forces media teams to send out one clear message, Launch appeals and reduce the prospect of fake news, they can speak directly to followers but lack that human to human contact.
The individual officer accounts, are loved by many and show members of the public the human side of policing they enable communities to break down the barriers that the corporate accounts offer, on a scale that cannot be achieved anywhere else.
The Anonymous accounts, Well we know these accounts are well respected but don’t want to be publically named they can say the things the individual officer accounts would not really get away with and expose some of the more trending policing topics across social media while offering great support and context for the thin blue line. We have a lot to learn from these accounts and often a lot to fear.
The Divisional accounts are not a new thing, many have been going for years, but mainly set up by officers who did not want to put their name to the social media accounts, cops who wanted to tweet but from the screen of the divisional team or unit. There are many fantastic divisional and team accounts engaging in such a brilliant way but these are manned by as little as one or two people.
Personally, Police Hour is looking for positive social media, social media that shines a good light on the great communities the police officers work in and the great work that the officers are doing. After all, not everyone is bad, We don’t want to see the negative tweets we want to celebrate policing and work together in a light that is supportive of the thin blue line.
In 2006, Policing Professional Standards teams would hunt out officers, they’d arrest them and discipline them they’d be forced to remove the account and we are talking about accounts with over 35K followers, for those that remember Das Beard.
This happened because simply the police had no idea about the power of Twitter and how good it could be as a force for good.
Then one day Twitter was a thing, Twitter within policing meant something, the corporate accounts began piling on to Twitter launching and opening their own Twitter Accounts.
Tweeting and Policing was suddenly something that worked, and all of a sudden hundreds of officers were encouraged to open accounts, Tweeting was trendy and we think that was down to the hard work of the Police Twitter Awards team.
At some point towards the end of 2017, the powers that be within Policing believed that knocking off one account at a time would go unnoticed, The official standpoint would be ‘We are not banning officers from Twitter, We are changing the way we tweet’ so, in a nutshell, they are forcing policy in the faces of policing and tweeting accounts and saying they must stop tweeting on their personal accounts which have in some cases earned followings of up to 30K people to be switched to a shared account with no followers so they can start again and build everything up from nothing for the good of the ‘corprate teams’
It sounds more professional doesn’t it, of course, it does in fact if you are a bit of a pen pusher the idea is fantastic. Let’s crush thousands of established twitter accounts and force the officers to simply switch to ours that does not yet work,
Honestly, if you think these officers are going to want to keep tweeting after being banned from using their own accounts you’d really need to think again.
The truth is the public love the individual officer accounts, they’ve done such a fantastic job at engaging the public and providing the online world has no barriers when it comes to human to human contact, without the corporate side of things.
We all know these anonymous and named accounts pose no risk to policing and tweeting and are actually the accounts that restore and maintain the public faith in policing, these are the people we support, laugh with and cry with along the way.
Policing voices are being silenced under new social media policy
Somewhere in policing someone hates social media and does not like the way in which it is increasing confidence within policing and breaking barriers because policing voices are being silenced and shut down.
Policing and Twitter has enabled police officers to communicate with their communities like never before, increasing engagement, building bridges and ensuring members of the community can see highlights of what is happening within their local community, adding a personality to the local policing team and simply making people smile.
They enable members of the public to see that our police officers are just like us and that they are actually human with a sense of humour, But Professional Standards and force policy are putting a stop and attempting to kill the strong policing tweeting community they are silencing a large number of accounts.
Many Police Inspectors, Police Officers and Special Constables are finding they are being called into the offices with senior management teams and being forced to hand over the passwords of their accounts, or shut down their twitter policing accounts.
In a time of police cuts, POLICE HOUR believes this is the real reason that officers are having their voices taken away, they simply do not want the public to see the real picture. The once highly supported accounts who have been fully approved via the internal forces processes are now in certain forces being shut down.
Despite this officers are even being forced to lock down their own accounts or close them completely, controlling the way officers are using social media.
Very few forces actually get the benefit of social media
Some police officers out there who tweet are very lucky and find themselves supported by their police force, because these forces have truly grasped technology with the right guidelines in place to encourage tweeting in the right way.
It’s all about learning what you can and can’t say on social media and when it all goes wrong it’s simply a mistake, a simple tweet and these should be supported by senior officers in forces.
Many forces do support these because when they get it right the power of Twitter can be amazing and engage communities and people across the world like never before in creative ways and in ways the public can relate too.
How can a police officer become a police tweeter?
Police Staff and Police Officers can apply to run their own Twitter account, but they must follow forces internal policy and submit a business needs request in order to run an official account, and they must then face the senior management team and a decision will then be made by the chief constable based on the reasoning for wanting to open a policing twitter account. It’s not an easy road.
Connecting all the cogs.
Why fix something if it’s not broken. There is a need for the corporate divisional accounts, but why not let the officers still keep their private accounts tweeting they way they tweet and then achieve the vision of the new divisional accounts all the cogs need to keep working otherwise the wheel is going to fall off.
The good work of these tweeting accounts need to continue and we need to ensure we get behind and continue to support the very quickly disappearing popular accounts going daily.
Tweeting on an individual level also has a weight of personal responsibility attached that can only be limited to that named officer which would be limited to a few comments about the force whereas tweeting on corporate account risks the reputation of the force rather than just the name officer.
Do let us know your views on Tweeting and Police by dropping @PoliceHour a tweet.
Police Hour has hit over 2 million readers a week every week for over six months
Police Hour has grown from a small startup to something that really means something. We’d just really like to take a moment to thank you and let you know what has been happening behind the screens on the amazing journey you’ve supported us down.
Back in May we secretly established office space in Hartlepool and spent more time focusing on Police Hour, and since may our weekly readers have never dropped below 2.2 million unique readers, That is all thanks to you for staying with us or joining us.
We’ve been building our servers and increasing the speed in which you can access our site, we silently launched a new look website and focused on technology and working closely with Facebook, Twitter & Google to establish some connections and contacts. Along the way, we have met some fantastic people who offered us some great advice.
Our aim back in 2014 was to provide balanced non-sensationalised policing news that was reported in a positive way for Police Officers nearly four years later we have outgrown our original aim, with many members of the community who support our front line police officers jumping in a supporting us.
We don’t share fake news and we ensure we do not publish in a way to encourage shares, clicks or clickbait and ensure we still provide a voice for front-line police officers, but due to our expanding demand and rapid growth have gone beyond these areas to offer content for those of you out there who are not police officers.
Over the past 12 months, We’ve been to many award ceremonies and even spoken at conferences about Police Hour something we did not think would ever happen.
The support we also get from the policing community is also amazing and we cannot thank all of these individual officers enough not only for the hard and challenging job they are doing but the warmth in the way they have welcomed police hour in to their hearts, We see the real side of policing the side that many do not get to see and we can promise you they are working non stop around the clock to make a difference for you and not for their own gain.
Supporting the thin blue line
In the last six months alone we have together raised 20K for the families and officers injuries in major incidents in the line of duty, We have all stood up together shoulder to shoulder and supported these families, offering them some fantastic support.
This money has helped police officers get home and paid for rehabilitation to get them back to work, we are ever so proud of this and can only thank our readers for digging deep and supporting the thin blue line.
Keeping content free
As many news outlets within the policing world look to charge monthly and yearly subscriptions we’ll simply be keeping our content free and won’t be charging you or restricting our content, Although a lot of time and money is spent behind the scenes bringing our news to your screens we believe content should be free and you should not be faced with a paywall.
We’ll be ensuring that Police Hour will remain free, and it always will be.
What we are offering Police Officers.
We’re really getting behind and supporting those of you out there who want to become police officers, and for the first time Police Hour will be offering all of you out there who aspire to become police officers free content and tools that we believe will help you pass the police recruitment process and stand you in good stead for the future.
We will start releasing further details about this in March when we hope everything will be ready to go.
We’ve established some fantastic networking opportunities that enable us to support the front line in terms of police promotion, we now have a Steve Cooper on hand to offer you free promotion content that we believe will invest in your future or the way you think and approach things.
Developing digital content
Police Hour has invested thousands of pounds in technology that will enable us to release professionally produced video content, although we cannot say much about this at the moment we have been out and about filming in Hartlepool and other areas of Teesside.
News and content
We believe that our news and content should remain fresh and remain supportive of the thin blue line, we believe it is so important to continue sharing missing people appeals of many which never reach the local media or national media.
We believe we should only produce content that we believe you will read, that we believe will add value.
We want to share news and write news that matters to you and your community. There is many more things happening behind the scenes that we can’t tell you about just yet but we do look forward in sharing them.
Simply to you and our 2.2 Million readers we’d simply love to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
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:
- Good awareness and understanding of vision or mission
- Self-aware, understanding personal values and development areas
- Demonstrates awareness of the current policing context
- A response that goes beyond the theoretical
- Able to evidence leadership impact in & beyond your team
- Well-structured and considered responses
- 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
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.
“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??
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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