US guru sees positive benefits of working with police

A police force has spent £200,000 on the services of an US motivational guru to train staff to think more positively.

West Mercia Police said recruiting Mary Gober – nicknamed Mrs Motivator – would improve the service to the public.

Gober will encourage around 230 switchboard operators who deal with 999 calls and general enquiries staff to ‘think outside the box’ and banish negative words such as ‘can’t’.

The training is intended to improve customer service and make staff more confident and assertive. Staff will be encouraged to take more responsibility for their own actions and listen deeply.

The force, which covers Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire, has been accused of wasting money.

Paul Keetch, local Liberal Democrat MP for Hereford, criticised the programme.

“If the chief constable felt this training was essential, I would like to know why trainers could not have been recruited from other police forces with relevant knowledge,” he said. 

A force spokesman said the initiative had been paid for out of an existing training budget and not from front-line resources.

The training programme was devised after Gober analysed tape recordings of the 999 calls. She suggested staff should let callers tell them about incidents before asking for their name and address.

This is the first time Gober, whose previous clients include retailer Marks & Spencer and hotel chain Novotel, has been asked to work for the police.

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