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2018 REVIEW:

Policing Insight’s 2018 highlights: Innovation in the face of adversity

As 2018 draws to a close, Policing Insight's editorial team highlight some of their favourite articles from the past year and set them as FREE access for all our readers to enjoy during the holiday period

Well, what a year 2018 has been! This year Policing Insight has published hundreds of articles covering the whole range of policing issues with certain themes emerging such as funding pressures, demand management, technological shortfalls and the mental health and wellbeing of staff and officers. 

We are constantly astounded by the individuals who contact us telling us about the innovative work they’re involved in or to just give their unique perspective on where policing is heading

We know the challenges faced by policing are stark after being hobbled by years of chronic cuts and under-investment. Despite this, British policing remains amongst the best in the world. However, it is the people that staff the service that make it the ‘finest’ there is. 

I, and the rest of the team, are constantly astounded by the individuals who contact us telling us about the innovative work they’re involved in or to just give their unique perspective on where policing is heading. It doesn’t matter if they’re a front line officer, a Police and Crime Commissioner or an academic, they all have one thing in common. They all want to make the police service better. 

So, as we steadily work our way through our second box of Ferrero Rocher, the Policing Insight team have chosen some of their favourite articles over the last twelve months, articles that resonated, articles that shone a light on fantastic work happening across the UK and articles that summed up policing in 2018. 

As I read through those selections, I can’t help but wonder if 2018 is the year that British policing finally ceased to be the gift that kept on giving. Maybe, Home Secretary, it’s time to give something back. It is Christmas, after all.

My own selection focuses on the innovative work that is happening whether that’s Operation Galileo taking a new approach to harm reduction our roads or a single police officer tackling crime in high security hospitals. 

The selections of my colleague and fellow editor Carina O’Reilly have a strong focus on police recruitment, development and wellbeing with a side order of neighbourhood policing and politics.

Former GMP ACC and Policing Contributor Ian Wiggett’s choices centre around the frontline experiences, officer discretion and the need to trust officers rather than targets!

Among his choices, Bernard Rix, Policing Insight’s publisher, has chosen the Police ICT User Survey, now in its second year. The response this year was terrific, allowing us to continue building a body of evidence on the state of ICT in policing to persuade those holding the purse strings that change needs to happen.

We have temporarily switched all the selected articles to FREE registered access, so all our readers can enjoy these thought provoking nuggets of policing insight over the Christmas and New Year period. Just log in if you have an an existing user account or register a free account here.

And finally…on behalf of the whole team, I would like to thank our contributors for their insightful and thought-provoking articles. There are now nearly 500 of you! Thank you also to our readers, many of whom have become contributors, for your feedback and support. Have a peaceful Christmas and our best wishes for the New Year. We look forward to hearing from you in 2019.

Tina picks her favourite Policing Insight articles from 2018

Tina Orr-MunroTina Orr Munro, Associate Editor
Tina commissions, edits and writes articles for Policing Insight. After an initial career as a police scenes of crime officer, Tina retrained as a journalist and began her career on Jane’s Police Review in 2000 as a staff reporter. She became a freelance police and crime journalist in 2004. Since then, Tina has written for the Home Office, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Police Federation of England and Wales, as well as national newspapers and magazines. She has edited the Police Federation’s Police magazine, has had three books published and writes crime fiction in her spare time.

Police innovation: “Alexa, what’s my briefing?”
Policing has a reputation for being dinosaur-like when it comes to change. Lancashire Police’s appointment of an Innovation Manager flies in the face of that charge, recognising the potential to seek new and innovative ways to police our communities.

The psychological consequences of emotional labour: A personal story
Even in this age of greater enlightenment around mental health, it takes enormous courage for a serving officer to admit they’re struggling. DI Sarah-Jane Lennie’s story is one of the most powerful stories I have read. Now on a career break Sarah-Jane has embarked on a PhD looking at the emotional impact of policing.

Operation Galileo – tackling harm on our roads
Road safety is edging back up the policing agenda, but there are too many casualties on our roads. This superb series focuses on a fundamental rethink of how we reduce harm on our highways.

Knife crime: Important new findings could help us understand why people carry weapons
So often we treat the symptoms and not the causes of crime. This article highlights the importance and role of academia in increasing our understanding of issues such as the causes of knife crime before we search for the solution.

‘Rainy day’ money: Why using cash reserves is not the answer to plugging the pension shortfall
Forces are constantly being told to use their ‘reserves’ to plug funding shortfalls. This article gets behind the headlines complaining Police and Crime Commissioners are sitting on pots of money and nails it for me in terms of why spending your reserves isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.

Not fed, but eaten: How organised crime affects the most vulnerable communities
Serious and organised crime is still seen in terms of the ‘Mr Bigs’ of the world. This article brings home the fact that it is very much on our doorstep and significantly impacting the most vulnerable in our communities. 

Deploying mobile technology: How to avoid ‘Angry Bird’ syndrome
With 43 forces in England and Wales articles, such as this one from Ch Supt Phil Davies on mobile technology, are vital in sharing innovative practice, especially where there is heavy financial investment.

Educated workforce: Police officers should have degrees
This is an incredibly contentious area and anyone who raises their head above the parapet has my unending respect.

Spotlight On: The challenge of recruiting chief constables
Our ‘Spotlight On’ series gives an overview of a particular policing issue. Whereas general police recruitment remains over subscribed, this peters out in the senior ranks with a high turnover of chief constables and a distinct reluctance to come forward for the role. The issue is why.

Offender management: Why crime committed in high security hospitals should still be investigated
We hear of many instances where one police officer has taken on a new role and made an incredible impact. This is just one of those instances. It would be easy to shrug your shoulders at those already incarcerated, many for life, not being prosecuted for crimes committed at a high security hospital, but not so for this particular officer.

Carina picks her favourite Policing Insight articles from 2018

Carina oReillyCarina O’Reilly, Editor
Carina O’Reilly is Policing Insight’s editor with a particular focus on research and academia. She worked at IHS Jane’s for seven years as a writer, editor and senior analyst on European security and organised crime. A specialist on policing, politics and security issues in Europe, Carina is a Lecturer in Policing and Criminal Justice at Anglia Ruskin University, with research interests in police legitimacy, accountability and neighbourhood policing. She also teaches politics at undergraduate level at the Institute of Continuing Education at the University of Cambridge. Carina took her first degree at Cambridge University in Social and Political Sciences and holds a Masters in Strategic Studies from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Wrestling with command: The conflict of leadership and management
Written by serving officer Jim Gale, this long read argues that too much time and energy is spent on learning to lead in the police – but not enough on the hard work of managing.

Siren song: How ambulance data could help police forces in England and Wales
A fascinating exploration from the team at RAND Europe of what data from the ambulance service could tell us about crime hotspots and how this data could help the police reduce violence.

Learning as cops and as academics: Talking degreegate again
A thoughtful piece from Emma Williams of Canterbury Christ Church University, arguing that both academia and policing need to be reflective, and education a two-way process.

“You cannot learn policing from a book”: What serving officers really think about Direct Entry
We might think we know how serving officers regard Direct Entry, the scheme and its recruits, but the Canterbury Christ Church team and the Police Federation went and found out.

Reflecting on the MOPAC evaluation of Police Now’s first cohort
Has Police Now lived up to its promise? Gavin Hales of the Police Foundation reviews MOPAC’s evaluation of the scheme.

Spreading the word: The Police Federation’s analysis of how stress and demand is affecting wellbeing
An inside look at the Police Federation’s survey of officer welfare: what the Federation discovered about stress and wellbeing, and how they found it out.

Leaving Home: The impact of the British Transport Police-Police Scotland merger on officers and staff
One of the best examples of Kath Murray’s ongoing focus on what could happen if the Scottish Government insisted on breaking up the British Transport Police.

Acute interface: Improving police and NHS interaction
Serving officer Martin Gallagher explains how his team vastly improved the interaction between the police and the local NHS, building relationships and reducing demand.

PEEL Effectiveness and neighbourhood policing: Tugging at the bed-sheet?
Though the HMICFRS might have found signs of recovery in neighbourhood policing, Police Foundation expert Andy Higgins warns that it’s too soon to break out the bunting

We need to talk about policing – so we need to talk about politics too
Former Chief Superintendent John Sutherland warns that it is time to confront the negative narratives on policing and confront the politics and ideology that feed it.

Ian picks his favourite Policing Insight articles from 2018

Ian Wiggett, Policing Insight regular contributor
Ian Wiggett is a former ACC in Greater Manchester Police, with responsibility for Serious Crime and Counter Terrorism. He was the national lead for systems thinking and for casualty bureau, and was chair of the NPAS Assurance Group. Ian previously had responsibility for specialist operations within GMP. He has led work in GMP to improve responses to missing persons and mental health, and in applying systems thinking approaches across local and specialist policing. Ian began his service in the Metropolitan Police, and gained extensive experience of public order and crime investigation. After being head of CID in three London divisions, he headed the Intelligence and Performance portfolio within Territorial Policing. Following transfer to Cheshire Constabulary, he became Director of Intelligence, held commands in local policing and specialist operations, and led several forcewide change programmes.

Hey chief, stop looking for the silver bullet: The complications of EBP
Take any of the current challenges in policing: it can’t be emphasised enough that there are no single answers. Imposing a strategy, even if it is backed by evidence, doesn’t mean it will work everywhere. Jerry explains that it’s just as important to understand why and how a strategy worked, as well as whether it worked.

Developing a Copper’s Nose – the need to empower new officers
Martin Gallagher has produced several refreshing articles on policing in Scotland. They link back to that need to understand the why and how, just as much as the what. There is a common message of trusting officers to get on with their vocation, to try things out, and not to control everything from the centre/top of the organisation.

Personal resilience: A very short ‘resilience prescription’ for working as a police officer
I’ve known Andy Rhodes and Ian Hesketh for several years. They led the way in raising Wellbeing to the top of the national agenda. Here they highlight that positive resilience depends on officers and staff having a sense of hope and meaning (empowerment) in their work.

It’s time to end tick-box governance
Sticking with the themes of trust and empowerment, Cate Moore argues for autonomy and intrinsic motivation to have greater recognition within the governance systems.

Damage done: What austerity has done to policing, and its consequences
John Sutherland writes from the heart, and embodies that sense of vocation. If I had to pick one person to represent the views of the whole service, John would be my choice.

Risk in policing: Taking a balanced approach
Part of the reason why trust and empowerment have been curtailed is about the organisational attitudes to risk. Martin Wilson explains how too much risk aversion and control stifles change – which is not what the service needs now.

You only regret the things you don’t do: Why I’d join the police again today
Harry Tangye is the guy you want on your team. At a time when there is a lot of gloom about, Harry reminds us of why we joined – and the huge satisfaction and fun that is still there.

Permission to be me: Autism and the police service
This is a great article on a topic we are only starting to recognise in policing, and where there is still a lot more to understand.

Mobile data: The view from the frontline
Cops are not tech dinosaurs – really. Good kit that actually works, and works intuitively, is what’s needed. Some forces are leading the way.

The perils of setting police targets: First time entrants to the youth justice system
Finally, its worth reminding everyone of the dangers inherent in targets. They never went away in education and health, despite all he horror stories that keep emerging. We need to make sure they don’t re-emerge in policing.

Bernard picks his favourite Policing Insight articles from 2018

Bernard Rix Bernard Rix. CoPaCC Chief Executive and Publisher of Policing Insight
Prior to setting up CoPaCC, Bernard worked as an independent police, criminal justice and community safety advisor since 1990, across the United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East. He led over fifty significant change assignments in this time, work that has – amongst other benefits – improved police investigation of burglary, cut court delays, given victims a better service, helped community relations, and enhanced police officer safety

Five technology trends set to transform policing
Policing Insight sets great store in attracting outstanding insight from policing itself, from academia and from policing suppliers. Here’s just one of very many potential examples from policing suppliers – from James Slessor, MD of Accenture Police Services.

New notions of diversity: Internal bias and the role of leaders
An excellent example of a thought-provoking article from academia – this time from Dr Emma Williams, Policing Programme Director at Canterbury Christ Church University.

Child Sexual Exploitation: Frustrated police leaders look to tech companies to do more
Policing encompasses a very wide range of challenging problems to address, though few of the crimes tackled are as horrendous and reprehensible as child sexual abuse. This article looked at how tech companies could be doing more to help police tackle this awful problem.

Leading the way: How Chief Execs can help OPCCs attract and retain talent
One of our key innovations during 2018 was our launch, in June, of an annual Police Governance Summit. It drew a capacity audience to our Northamptonshire venue, and first-rate reviews. Ian (above) has already picked an article written by Cate Moore, one of the speakers at the Summit – I’m going for an article by another brilliant speaker, Humberside OPCC’s Chief Executive, Rachel Cook. We’ll shortly be opening bookings for the Police Governance Summit 2019, which will be taking place in July.

BCUs: Will the Met’s new structure offer better flexibility and efficiency?
I’m enormously proud of the Policing Insight team: here’s just one example of the first-rate content they produce, in this case from former Greater Manchester ACC (and regular Policing Insight contributor) Ian Wiggett.

Report Watch: HMICFRS’ Policing and Mental Health Report – “Picking up the Pieces”
I could have chosen any of our Report Watch series at my Number Five: Report Watch is a brilliant, quick way for our readers to get the key headlines from a detailed policing report of the day, and an excellent innovation led by Policing Insight’s Tina Orr Munro. The Report Watch on “Policing and Mental Health” I’ve chosen here is by another of our outstanding team, Syreeta Lund. 

Transforming policing: An interview with Mike Bush, New Zealand’s police commissioner
Quite simply because, during 2018, New Zealand Police were the very first overseas force to take out an organisational subscription to Policing Insight.

Police ICT: User Perspectives 2018 report – ICT fit for the frontline
Soon to be in its third year, our annual Police ICT User Perspectives survey is “helping to improve technology for the frontline” – not my words, but those of the Police Superintendents’ Association. The article I’ve chosen is one of several from policing’s representative bodies, is by Simon Kempton, Deputy National Treasurer and National Board Member of the Police Federation of England and Wales.

Transparency: Twenty five OPCCs recognised for excellence
It might seem a dull topic – but there’s a very large number of members of the public interested in police transparency. This “Open” article attracts traffic throughout the year, and looks at a topic that Policing Insight’s parent, CoPaCC, first examined three years before Policing Insight itself was launched.

Personal resilience: A very short ‘resilience prescription’ for working as a police officer
My final choice is far from being a dull topic: it’s central to the work and wellbeing of every single police officer across this country. In this must-read article, Dr Ian Hesketh (Wellbeing Lead for the College of Policing) and Chief Constable Andy Rhodes (NPCC Lead for Wellbeing and Engagement) set out  their ‘resilience prescription’. 


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