“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” – Carl Jung
In this blog I outline the value of using mnemonics in your preparation for police promotion. It is a great thinking tool and memory aid to deciphering the CVF, behaviours, values and even the Code of Ethics, so that you can go into your promotion interview or process with confidence and clearly structured answers and responses. But first, let’s remind ourselves of the framework used in UK police promotion processes…
What is the CVF?
“Honey, I shrunk the CVF!” – Steve Cooper
The Competency and Values Framework (CVF) is the standard against which most UK forces run their promotion processes for Sergeant, Inspector and Chief Inspector. I’ve blogged about the CVF earlier this year and cover the subject extensively in my digital promotion toolkit. For now and in a nutshell, there are:
– 6 ‘Competencies’: AKA ‘behaviours’. You must align your evidence to each behaviour at ‘Level 2’ for the roles of Sergeant, Inspector and Chief Inspector.
– 4 ‘Values’: Transparency, integrity, public service and impartiality. Note that the Police Scotland values differ slightly.
Your in-force promotion guidance is important reading material for a start. It will often identify what competencies and values are being assessed for each stage of the process, for example in the assessment tests, application form, interview board and presentation. It’s important to prepare by learning to love the CVF, make sense of it for yourself (as I did with the image above), and maybe even dive in to what is meant by phrases such as ‘We are Emotionally Aware’ or ‘We Deliver, Support and Inspire’.
How Can Mnemonics Help My Police Promotion Bid?
“Right now I’m having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I’ve forgotten this before” – Steve Wright
A mnemonic is a ‘thinking tool’ that aids memory. It does so by encoding information in a structured manner to help you recall the information easily later. It chunks key information together in your mind like a mental drop-down menu.
I use several mnemonics in my ‘What Works’ masterclasses and downloadable guides, for example around the role of police sergeant, inspector or the structure of an interview response. The visual cues when associated with vivid imagery help cement the memory further, making it more readily available when needed in interview. It goes down well with promotion candidates and often forms part of the road to success, for example:
“Yet another good news story, I passed my Sgts Board at my first attempt and just wanted to say a massive thank you. What stuck in my mind was some key points which I took in with me, professional conversation, delivering stories and most definitely the mnemonic! Thanks again.” – Pete, passed Sergeant promotion board first time.
As shown in the image above, mnemonics need not make actual real words or correct spelling; they need only make sense to you. What follows are some examples for key College of Policing (COP) information and frameworks…
Example 1: The CVF as a Mnemonic – ACED IT!
“Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain.” – Commonly-used mnemonic
The COP publish extensive guidance on the CVF, for individuals and for forces. It spans tens of pages of guidance detailing the model and behaviours expected for each competency or value. Once you’ve familiarised yourself with what’s required of you as a ‘Level 2’ police leader, here’s a mnemonic to help you anchor your evidence against each of the competencies in your mind: We ACED IT!
A – Analyse Critically
C – Collaborative
E – Emotionally Aware
D – Deliver, Support & Inspire
I – Innovative & Open-Minded
T – Take Ownership
Another way of chunking the information might be ‘I CADET’. Or if you wanted to throw in the four values too… Here’s a TIIP: TED works in the CIA.
T – Transparency
I – Integrity
I – Impartiality
P – Public Service
Example 2: Code of Ethics Mnemonic – SIR OF HALO
“Good luck is a residue of preparation.” – Jack Youngblood
Relevant to the ‘Values’ at the heart of the CVF is the policing ‘Code of Ethics’. This might be useful to reference for example when responding to questions about your decision-making (analyse critically) as the ‘Policing Principles’ are all about doing the right things in the right way. Or indeed when discussing values, since there is great overlap here.
So I would like to introduce to you my friend, SIR OF HALO…
S – Selflessness
I – Integrity
R – Respect
O – Objectivity
F – Fairness
H – Honesty
A – Accountability
L – Leadership
O – Openness
Or maybe you’d prefer to think about not having a bad hair day with the HAIR FOOLS… you get the picture.
You can try this technique for yourself with information you want to take with you, creating a personal filing system you can access as part of your promotion process. Maybe you could create your own, for example when preparing for an open-goal question or presentation topic about challenges facing policing today.
I hope you found this blog useful. For further support on your promotion aspirations or bespoke, intensive fast track support, please view the Rank Success support packages. You can also use code POLICEHOUR20 at checkout, to save 20% on any Rank Success digital promotion toolkits or bundles.
Kind Regards, Steve.