Building Strong Police Promotion Evidence from Experience (Pt 1)

Police epaulettes rank badges

When seeking police promotion in UK forces, something you can do before a process is even announced is to write down your evidence and experience, then align that to the behaviours within the Competency and Values Framework (CVF). Aspiring police officer leaders often come to me for support stumped, wondering where to start with common questions such as:

What kinds of experiences can I use in a promotion board or application?

What’s the best way to gather and organise and structure this into promotion evidence?

How do I choose my very best examples from all my police work and align them to the CVF behaviours (competencies, values)?

This blog aims to answer these common questions.

“It sure pays to have an edge.” – Josey Wales


What Experience Works as Promotion Evidence?

Compiling best police promotion evidence is key

“When you’re looking for a needle in a haystack, don’t be afraid to burn the haystack to save yourself from spending half your life picking through strands of straw.” – A.J. Darkholme

It is important to recognise in police promotion and leadership what experience you have at the desired rank. I say at the desired rank, because although the College of Policing align Sergeants, Inspectors and Chief Inspector to Level 2 of the CVF, their interpretation for promotion assessment varies wildly. I’ve blogged several times before about the importance of understanding the ranks, including how they differ, for example the need to take a strategic perspective at Inspector, or ability to operate in the grey at Chief Inspector.

Even the College themselves in their recent launch of leadership CPD materials have recognised and categorised all three Federated leadership ranks differently, with Sergeants defined as ‘first line leaders’, Inspectors as ‘middle managers’ and Chief Inspectors as ‘senior leaders’. All of these insights are covered in detail within my premium digital toolkits and Video Masterclass materials.

It can be hard to think about your experiences and decipher the ‘golden needles’ that can form strong promotion evidence from the proverbial haystack containing years on the job. Here’s 11 example themes that may prompt your ideas about recognising great work you have done. Consider for each what the different ranks might require:

  1. Developing yourself and others (CPD, coaching, mentoring)
  2. Managing and responding to a planned or spontaneous operational incident
  3. Improving the performance of individuals and teams (whether through processes to reduce crime and disorder, or addressing/supporting underperformance of individuals within your team)
  4. Supporting or being inclusive to colleagues or other stakeholders, such as implementing reasonable adjustments in the workplace
  5. Improving the wellbeing of your colleagues
  6. Implementing a business change in your team or wider force that improved service delivery
  7. Stakeholder engagement and briefings on important matters
  8. Effective decision-making and use of the NDM, either yourself or through empowering others
  9. Leading the effective investigation of crime
  10. Management of resources and delegation
  11. Leading through times of uncertainty

As I outline in my exclusive & uninterrupted >4hr Video Masterclass, having some acting or temporary promotion experience means little for a promotion board, but it may have given you the opportunity to gather more experience, insights and evidence at the level of the next rank.

To prompt further ideas you can browse my raft of free blogs, both here on Police Hour and at my dedicated WordPress blog. I also provide a range of free videosfree guides and free podcasts about police promotion and leadership. If you want to go further, take a look at hundreds of example application/interview questions and exact rank-specific, detailed examples of what works, all within my premium promotion toolkits you can download for yourself. These are all designed to help you recognise and then shape your own experiences, in preparation for your force promotion process. Even better, use code RSGUIDES20 for 20% off at checkout on my website!


How Can I Organise My Police Experience into Promotion Evidence?

Building Strong Police Promotion Evidence from Experience (Pt 1) 1

“Organized people are just too lazy to go looking for what they want.” – Albert Einstein

Put simply, the best way to organise your experience is to bring it into focus by writing it down, whatever your force promotion process entails. If you must submit a promotion application booklet in future, you will then already have a working draft to hand when the time comes. The act of writing down and structuring / organising your evidence will aid your memory and support the ‘intend, file, rehearse’ technique I expand upon in my premium support materials. I provide a range of guidance in my ‘Application Success’ guide, including what makes the difference between lower- and higher-scoring evidence. 

Structure is also essential to convey your experience in an organised, methodical manner for your reader. It’s key to compiling evidence and building cases in everyday policing, so why ignore this when building your own case for promotion? The Met Police for example advocate the use of ‘SOAR’: Situation, Objective, Actions, Result. A simple and memorable alternative might be Problem, Actions, Result (PAR). Also consider Level, Complexity, and Outcome (LCO) at the Inspecting ranks.

Building Strong Police Promotion Evidence from Experience (Pt 1) 2

In part 2 I will share a free sample of what good evidence looks like, then explain why with detailed insights and tips (as I provide extensively in my digital toolkits). Watch this space!

Kind Regards, Steve