Police assessors fail to test officers’ ability to cope with counter terrorism and violent crime

Police officers being assessed for promotion do not have to have the skills to deal with counter terrorism and violent crime, it has emerged.

Research by Reed Consulting has found a significant disparity between the major challenges faced by senior police officers and the degree to which promotion assessments identify candidates best suited to meet them.

  • 73% of police assessment professionals in the UK cited counter terrorism as a major issue, but only 20% said their senior officer promotion assessments included an element to identify candidates best suited to meet this challenge.
  • 67% said violent crime was a major challenge, but only 20% addressed this in their promotion board assessments.

Reed Consulting head of assessments Julie Lowe, a former head of assessment at the Metropolitan Police, said: “To identify the officers most suitable for promotion, senior police officers and HR professionals must work closely together to ensure that the complexity of these roles is fully reflected in the assessment process.”

Testing specialism

But the Met Police has said it would be “ludicrous” to identify additional tests on top of core skills and competencies already testing officers at senior levels, purely to see if they are suited to dealing with a specialist area.

A Met spokesman told Personnel Today: “Officers are assessed on key skills and competencies throughout their career, which then deem them fit to take on any policing issues at their level [including counter terrorism or violence].

“It would be an absolutely monumental waste of money for police to draw up tests for each individual based on the specialism they will be looking after. Drawing up a specific test to see if an officer is suited to terrorism, for example, is a ludicrous assumption to make.”

Reed Consulting is working with a number of forces to develop promotion assessments that genuinely support the development of a modern police force, following a Knowledge Network foundation to enable forces to exchange best practice and engagement with the Association of Chief Police Officers.

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