14 September 2018

Blog: How we are supporting colleagues working in safeguarding to succeed

Paul Clements, Met Police Superintendent and David Tucker, the College’s Crime Lead describe in this blog, how the College is working with senior public protection and safeguarding (PPS) leaders, to develop a programme to better support those who hold these complex, demanding roles.

‚ÄčLeading the teams who protect the vulnerable 

Roles leading public protection and safeguarding are among the most demanding in policing.

It's complex and pressurised work, and can have a significant psychological impact on those who selflessly, fearlessly carry it out.

The police service has for some time now recognised that these roles, and others (think firearms officers, football match commanders, senior investigating officers and child abuse investigators), should only be carried out by those who have received the right preparation.

But, at the Police Superintendents Association's 2018 conference this week, Chief Superintendent Gavin Thomas, reported that 87% of senior officers working in PPS had been placed in their roles without specific training and development. Three years ago, this figure was 82%.

By any objective measure, these officers manage exceptional and extraordinary levels of risk.

As the Home Secretary said in his response, "this needs to stop".

PPS leaders are asking for support both for themselves and for those that will follow them in these roles.

The College is responding.

Public Protection and Safeguarding Leaders Programme

There is a College team working with a panel of practitioners covering roughly two thirds of police forces and senior leaders, either currently serving in these roles, or with previous PPS leadership experience. Together, we are designing a development programme to properly prepare officers and staff to lead on PPS.

It is a privilege to work with such knowledgeable practitioners who continue to give us their time and the benefit of their expertise, to help create a programme that delivers what is needed.

Within the programme there will be core learning covering: managing risk; managing performance; and managing welfare and wellbeing, to help prepare colleagues take up these demanding roles.

The programme will deliver the minimum standards and consistency that will give the police service, partners, victims and survivors the confidence that those responsible for PPS in a force have been properly prepared.

Officers and staff can then be certified to show they have attained, and continue to demonstrate, the competence to lead.

Importantly, given the constantly-evolving legislative and practice landscape in PPS, this programme will include continuing professional development (CPD).  CPD enables officers to demonstrate that their professional knowledge, skills and competence are up to date

But this will not be centrally mandated CPD.  It is important that CPD is developed between the individual PPS leader and their line manager. It needs to reflect a force's needs, together with those of the individual.

We will be supporting PPS leaders to complete the necessary CPD each year, and supporting forces to engage in meaningful CPD so that development of an individual's skills continues.

Public protection and safeguarding challenges vary for forces

From our work to date with PPS leaders across the England and Wales, we know that force structures differ.

We shouldn't be surprised by this - some forces are large organisations covering big urban areas, while others have smaller workforces but cover larger rural environments. The public protection and safeguarding challenges vary significantly from force to force.  The programme sets out the areas that all PPS leaders need to address. Forces will also be able to add learning, either as initial requirements or as CPD, so that the learning their leaders acquire reflects local need.

Next steps

Our team is designing the learning standards, curriculum and delivery methods now.

We are indebted to the Superintendents Association and partners from other agencies, for their ongoing support to shape and deliver this critical programme.

Those currently in PPS roles who progress through the programme will play a vital role in refining the content to make it fit for purpose for future PPS leaders.

We are looking forward to enrolling our first cohort in early 2019.

If you have any questions, or would like to help us, please get in touch:

Superintendent Paul Clements, Head of Safeguarding, Met Police, North East London

Public Protection and Safeguarding Leaders Programme Lead


David Tucker, College of Policing Crime and Criminal Justice Lead



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