Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Inside policing podcast season two – leadership skills from day one

Published on 11 August 2023
Join special constable and head of media and external affairs Antony Bushfield as he talks to the people behind today's top stories and hot topics
25 mins listen

Officers and staff need to show leadership from the first day of their career to the last, often in extreme and pressurised situations. It's a topic that's always relevant in policing, particularly as we launch our new leadership programme.

Antony Bushfield talks to former Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney QPM, who recently completed her term as chief constable of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Constabulary after 31 years of service. Olivia led our strategic command course (SCC), developing and supporting the next generation of aspiring chief officers. 

Podcast Url


Antony and Olivia talk about the difference between leadership and management. Olivia believes that a manager focuses on ensuring that everything is done, with processes in place. A leader builds in time to focus on how things are done, and creates an environment where those doing the job can flourish. In other words, a leader considers the hows and whys, as well as the whats.

UK policing ... is undertaken with people, not to them. And that means that the public trust us, and ask us to do stuff for them. And that's a really unique and really precious model. 

Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney QPM

A leader needs to know the business of policing first and foremost, in order to protect the public. But they are also responsible for setting and maintaining a positive culture, nurturing talent and understanding the context in which policing operates. 

I see great people in policing, officers, staff, volunteers doing exactly that.

Olivia shares our ambition to make leadership training more accessible. 

Read more about the new police leadership programme – stage 5 

For Olivia, values are at the heart of great leadership. It's an evolving process, where you gain confidence and understand your own capabilities. Mentors are important to this process. The 'soft, almost subliminal influence' of being around colleagues face-to-face as a positive, as long as 'it's not just people in our line of sight who get opportunities'.

Sergeants, first line supervisors and police staff are in key positions to lead on tone setting.

Everyone in policing who has some contact with the public is in a leadership authority role. Nobody knows if someone's fresh out of the box or they've been at it for 20 years.

It comes not just with the powers that they have by law, but by their presence, that demeanour, the way they hold themselves, the way they operate, the way they communicate. No question.

Antony and Olivia discuss the challenge presented by public opinion of the police. Olivia thinks it's important to be open within the service about how it feels to operate in the current climate, but also to remind people of of the trust and value that persist. She says she is proud to be part of a culture that can challenge itself.

Finally, three words that sum up a good leader?

Energy, kindness and wisdom ... if they give their best, they can't go far wrong.


As part of our commitment to change the future of police leadership, we've been working with forces to develop and deliver our new police leadership programme. We recently released revised leadership standards, and we're planning the launch of our National Centre for Police Leadership

Find information on mentoring, coaching, CPD events, leadership support, guidance and information on the training available to officers and staff of all ranks   

See our career and learning pages

Was this page useful?

Do not provide personal information such as your name or email address in the feedback form. Read our privacy policy for more information on how we use this data

What is the reason for your answer?
I couldn't find what I was looking for
The information wasn't relevant to me
The information is too complicated