Senior police officers to get business and people skills training

Senior police officer training is to be revamped to better equip police leaders with business and people skills.

The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), established last year to improve police training and technology, is expected to get the go-ahead from the Home Office this month to develop a leadership strategy, which will define new national specifications that police chiefs should acquire.

Shelagh O’Leary, NPIA learning and development service director, told Personnel Today: “There is a recognition now that our [police] leaders are business leaders. Currently police officers come up through the ranks, but we haven’t taught them or given them any development about how to manage a business.”

O’Leary said the training shake-up comes in response to the increasing complexity of a senior police officer’s role, and is part of a bigger NPIA drive to review recruitment, retention and promotion in police forces.

“The demands on leaders in the police service will get even more complicated because of increasing expectations around dealing with the counter-terrorism strategy, and being more accountable to communities through neighbourhood policing,” she said.

“The main resources we have are the police officers and force staff. It is incumbent on the leadership in that organisation to make the most effective use of that resource, to make the police service more efficient.”

Open door for PCSO

The NPIA will also begin a review in 2008 into whether police community support officers (PCSOs) will be able to use their existing training towards becoming a full PC, revealed last month.

O’Leary said that certain PCSO training modules could be aligned with PC training nationally, so once a PCSO has undertaken them, they could go towards their application to become a full PC.

“If [PCSOs] have prior training, can that count towards their police officer training? That’s something we’re going to be looking at over the next year,” she said.

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