Professional placement case studies

Are you considering offering professional placements in your organisation to police officers? Read the case studies to help you understand more about the benefits.

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Emergency Police Response Team C at Barnet Borough had been proactively looking at ways in which to enhance their leadership skills and empower staff to ensure a smarter, more efficient work force.

 As part of a range of ideas Insp Gulam-Husen began liaising with a Senior Manager from John Lewis, Brent Cross to proactively seek a developmental day for the Supervisors on her team, to share experiences of management. Over a period of a few months Insp Gulam-Husen and the Senior Manager for Business Protection, Systems & Finance from John Lewis, Brent Cross agreed aims and objectives and planned an interesting programme for the staff over two days. One day was spent working jointly at John Lewis and the other at Colindale Police Station.

Insp Gulam-Husen even invited along her OCU Commander who spent some time with the store manager. Staff on both side gained a lot for the two days and brought back some ideas that they are already implementing. Strong relationship have been developed that will be built on again benefiting both sides.

A comment from John Lewis Section Manager Dan Fraser captured the learning out of the day: "It was remarkable to see the parallel of how similar the changes are for both businesses."

 

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Simon Parkes thought that exposure to the security, risk and crisis function of a large multi-national company would give him access to a business outside of law enforcement but where parallels to policing could be drawn. For him, two weeks with a company on a tailored programme was to be a learning and development experience which far exceeded any managerial course he had undertaken.

People learn differently. For me, two weeks with a company on a tailored programme was to be a learning and development experience which far exceeded any managerial course I have undertaken.

My insight took the form of 16 one-to-one meetings, attendance at a senior management team meetings, field and site visits, exposure to the security operation supporting the AGM and critiquing a hijack exercise.

I spent 90 minutes with an Executive Vice President. It was difficult not to be struck by his humility and absence of ego. Not for the first time, I registered that humility is possibly the most underrated attribute but one of the most powerful behaviours. His compassion for his employees was striking, saying: "We hurt 385 of our people last year." I was repeatedly told that near misses represent golden opportunities.

I sat in a senior management team meeting. A complete morning was dedicated to identifying members of their teams with the ability and credibility to move up through the company. Succession planning processes require that senior leaders identify immediate replacements and those with the potential to occupy posts within two years, between three and five years and more than six years.

In June I was asked to feedback on the company's response to a hijacking by observing a table-top exercise where the command machinery was stood up and stress tested. The primary objective and clear focus was the safe recovery of staff. If profit and loss featured in operational decision making I saw no evidence of it.

I could not have been more appreciative of the two week window into the workings of the company. Was it worth it? Definitely.

Simon's host offers his view.

My initial motivation was to help senior officers from within my former service, although we gained much more through the experience than I would have envisaged.

I received positive feedback from those that Simon talked to, many of whom had gone on to reflect on the discussion and challenge previous assumptions. This fresh perspective and testing of any 'group think' was of real benefit.

So too were his insights. At the end of his internship, Simon offered me thoughts and ideas on the value he could take back and implement into the policing model, but also where it could enhance our own delivery.

Overall, he stressed how much the learning experience has benefited his personal development – perhaps more so than conventional classroom teaching. This is very much consistent with BP's ethos, which adopts a range of experiential approaches as part of blending learning.

 

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Viki Crorken is an inspector with Lancashire Constabulary and began a nine month secondment to the Co-Operative Group in September 2017. Viki has taken on the role of National Business Crime Partnership Lead and will be working from Co-Op HQ in Manchester. She will be engaging with and influencing the Home Office, Police Service, British Retail Crime Consortium and others to support innovative ideas that drive the Co-Ops vision of safer, stronger communities.

For Viki it is a great opportunity to really understand the retails sectors approach to crime, develop business acumen and build a strong network outside policing. In return the Co- Operative group are able to exploit Viki extensive policing experience to drive forward their own business aims.

Viki explains that 'This is an amazing opportunity to test my skills in a new sector, learn new skills, develop a new network and bring all that into policing'.

 

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Conway Duncan is a Superintendent from Wiltshire Police who has a varied and interesting police back ground. He started a nine month secondment at a project manager at Nationwide Building Society HQ, Swindon in September 2017 where he is working within Compliance & Financial Crime area of the Transformation Team.

During his secondment Conway will build up significant project management skills, business acumen, a detailed understanding of the financial sector's approach to crime and he will develop a valuable network outside policing. In addition, Nationwide are keen to exploit Conway's policing leadership, skills and network and they will be involving him in staff development, but also giving him opportunities to explore other areas of Nationwide's business.

"I was pleasantly surprised to find that Nationwide is a values based and led organisation with their core purpose being to, 'build society, nationwide'. As my force is also values based I felt right at home. Although it is a steep learning curve and there is a lot to 'get my head around', I am really enjoying the challenge of learning new things in a new and dynamic environment. This has been helped immensely by the Nationwide project and leadership teams welcoming me with open arms and also being very supportive.

Some of the learning I have identified already, include:

  • Gaining an insight into how commercial decisions are balanced with organisational values.
  • Project and Change Management skills and practices such as:
    • Stakeholder involvement and management
    • Change communication and engagement
    • Leading with influence and persuasion across teams and business areas. 
  • Lessons from the business transformation programmes and mergers that Nationwide have undertaken.
  • Navigating and leading in an ever increasingly complex, dynamic and changing environment.

I would highly recommend that Police Forces and colleagues take advantage of Professional Placements as they greatly benefit the individual, the force and the host organisation. "

Peter Lear Head of Transformation for Risk and Compliance at the society said;

"Conway is already making a difference within the project team, his leadership style, patience and inquisitive nature are immediately evident and have helped the team consider different perspectives around the work that we do. It's certainly not a one way street, and we are learning from his professional skills all the time.

It's great to see that the culture we hold so dear within the society is so tangible to someone from outside the organisation, we've also discovered that we share many of the same challenges as the Police when it comes to meeting the diverse needs of our members, maintain colleague morale and managing within finite resources.

The early signs are very promising, that the professional placement will meet its objectives of benefitting Conway, Nationwide and the Police."

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