2016 has been a memorable year for Policing Insight:
- It’s been our first full year. Our first ever article was published on Thursday, 23rd April 2015: “Digital Policing for a Digital Age” by Muz Janoowalla
- We published 486 articles during 2016, written by 247 authors (and counting)
- We’ve added 5,267 records to our Media Monitor service
- Our web traffic has grown substantially – for example, with close to 100,000 unique visitors in 24 hours to our PCC Elections 2016 pages in May
- Our Thematic Reports and Events (including on Brexit and Police / Fire Mergers) have attracted considerable national and international attention
- And we’ve been working hard on plans to build our Policing Insight offering in 2017 – more of this early in January
Which of our articles have proved the most popular (that is, attracted the most visitors)? Here’s Policing Insight’s countdown of our “Top 20” from 2016…
- At Number 20: “Robbing Peter to pay Paul: The trouble with ‘uplifting’ authorised firearms officers”. Ché Donald of the Police Federation of England and Wales argues that the much-trumpeted ‘uplift’ in authorised firearms officers (AFOs) is no uplift at all – and warns that without more Home Office support for AFOs, many may soon down weapons.
- Number 19: “Does the police service really CARE about leadership?”. Steve White, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, addressed APCC / NPCC Conference 2016 on the subject of police leadership. In this article for Policing Insight, he reiterates the arguments he put forward at the Conference.
- Number 18: “Police body-worn cameras: More to it than what you see”. Body-worn cameras for police officers are being rolled out globally, but until recently, limited evidence was available as to their effects. In one of the largest randomised-controlled trials in criminal justice history, the University of Cambridge and RAND Europe have recently published several papers looking at the new technology – with some surprising results. Alex Sutherland of RAND Europe outlines the findings and their implications.
- Number 17: “Race to the bottom? The story behind Chief Constables’ remuneration”. Earlier in 2016, the Daily Mail published a story claiming Chief Constables were raking in huge salaries and benefits at the public expense. Cate Moore explores the story behind the headlines, and finds little true investigation and even less accuracy – and warns that a race to the bottom benefits nobody.
- Number 16: “Integrating British Transport Police into Police Scotland on a ‘shoogly peg’”. Should the Scottish Government go ahead with its planned integration of the British Transport Police (BTP) into Police Scotland? Kath Murray looks at the implications of the proposal – and warns that the case for integration needs to be made much clearer.
- Number 15: “Ethics body invites PCC candidates to sign up to a ‘standards checklist’”. Policing Insight published the list of those PCC candidates committing to the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s checklist
- Number 14: “Into the hurting places: The difference between making mistakes and police misconduct”. This was published in the week that College of Police chief executive CC Alex Marshall this week called for an end to the blame culture in policing, and good officers being hung out to dry. Chief Superintendent John Sutherland reflected on the difference between mistakes and misconduct – and the need for police to know that they are supported when doing their jobs.
- Number 13: “What am I doing? I’m not a politician!”. Former ACC Steve Watts explained why he was seeking election as Hampshire and the Isle of Wight’s Police and Crime Commissioner
- Number 12: “At all costs? Getting rid of the British Transport Police in Scotland”. With the SNP government in Holyrood appearing determined to push through with its proposal to dismantle the British Transport Police and absorb its functions into Police Scotland, writer and commentator Wesley Hutchins looked at the evidence and the motivations behind the SNP’s strategy.
- Number 11: ““There has to be a better way”: Mental health issues in the police service”. Why is it that PTSD in some forces will result in an injury retirement, in others a resignation and in the worst cases prosecution? Gill Scott-Moore of the Police Dependents’ Trust looked about what’s changed in the way police deal with mental health issues, the research the Trust has commissioned, and the work that still needs to be done.
- Number 10: “Messy problems: The complexity of ‘demand’ in policing”. What is the real impact of reduced police numbers? Dr Joan Donnelly of the Police Federation of England and Wales discusses the complexity of ‘demand’.
- Number 9: “Police Now: A serving officer’s take on police training for the future”. Critics of Police Now, the Graduate Leadership Development Programme for the police, have warned it will lead to poorly equipped constables who will be found wanting once on the streets. Serving officer Dan Reynolds went to see for himself – and found a cohort with a maturity far in excess of their four weeks in the job.
- Number 8: “Who is accountable? Armed police officers, ‘Kratos’, and the use of fatal force”. High profile shootings like that of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Station in 2005 exposed weaknesses in the accountability mechanism around the police use of fatal force. Maurice Punch, Ralph Crawshaw and Geoffrey Markham, QPM argue that the issue has largely been dealt with through fudge, fiction and a refusal to acknowledge changing realities – leaving individual firearms officers to carry the can.
- Number 7: “Proposals for qualifications in policing: Are the College manipulating the figures?”. Sandra Andrews examined the College of Policing’s consultation on proposals to introduce academic recognition for both existing workforce and new joiners
- Number 6: “Mythbusting: The reality of the Police Education Qualifications Framework”. In the week that the new Police Education Qualifications Framework was unveiled – to a mixed reaction that was at times extremely hostile – serving officer Gareth Stubbs unpicked the announcement, and punctured some of the myths and misunderstandings around the new plans.
- Number 5: “A solicitor’s view: Police officers and the new offence of ‘police corruption’”. The new offence of ‘police corruption’ is not yet widely understood. Ian Townsend of Rebian Solicitors offers an overview of ‘police corruption’, and warns that the new offence creates the danger that a police officer’s behaviour which might have amounted to misconduct will in future be criminalised.
- Number 4: “Direct entry: Examining THAT ‘binman’ reference”. Former Greater Manchester ACC and CoPaCC Associate Ian Wiggett provided a considered response to an academic paper that, according to the Times that day, had “caused fury by comparing bobbies to binmen”
- Number 3: “Who is standing in the PCC elections in May?”. Policing Insight’s comprehensive analysis, including details of which candidates had signed the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s “PCC Standards Checklist”
- Number 2: “Wafer thin: An MP’s experience of the thinning blue line”. With increasing pressure on budgets, police officers are spending more time dealing with vulnerable people, and are forced to go on patrol alone. Holly Lynch MP was so concerned for the safety of one officer with whom she went on patrol that she rang 999 to get back-up for him. In this article for Policing Insight, she called on the government to support the police properly and to empower other agencies to take a lead on dealing with the vulnerable.
- AND OUR MOST VISITED ARTICLE in 2016: “Police officer turnover and retention: Reflections of a researcher”. How and why do serving police officers choose to leave the job they love? Naomi Bennett from Canterbury Christ Church University talks about her research into police retention, and warns that when governments and policing organisations make significant changes, those changes affect police officers on a personal level as well as a professional one.
Which is your favourite? And which others would YOU highlight? Why not let us know in the comments below….