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Direct Entry…Yorkshire Post 03/03/14

In response to the Direct Entry story first published in the Yorkshire Post yesterday, (03/03/14) we  have had numerous media enquiries and have given live broadcasts on BBC Look North and Radio Leeds.  We would like to state that we share the same vision as our Chief Constable in making West Yorkshire Police a world class police service.   We also advocate civilian recruitment for more senior support functions such as IT,   Project and Change Management, should rightly be sought from civilians externally with a proven track record in private industry.  We currently recruit like this already and this could be extended to incorporate bespoke consultancy work and projects in these and other non-operational areas.

However we have grave , grave, reservations on Direct Entry to the warranted rank of a police Superintendent.  Firstly we already have a mechanism in the form of the High Potential Development Scheme (HPDS), which currently gives serving officers a basic  grounding  in a variety of operational and strategic posts as they are accelerated through the ranks to senior management. It gives officers exposure to, and, experience of, numerous challenging operational and critical issues, as well as wide ranging management  opportunities, which will equip them for higher command later on in their service.   We would ask when did HDPS become unfit for purpose?

We have concerns of over the attracting the quality of potential candidates for Direct Entry.  It is pitched a successful, senior managers in private industry, who may be world class leaders, and presumably command world class salaries.  Who would want to take a 40, 50, or 60 % pay cut, combined with the increased public scrutiny and accountability that comes with our organisation?  We are not accountable to shareholders for profit.   Our Shareholders are the public and the legal systems, and our decisions have consequences on a different level of accountability.   Will we attract the right candidates ?   Not wishing to denigrate other professions but there is a world of difference between running a supermarket and suddenly granted authority for firearms officers, or, deploying PSU’s into large scale disorder.   If the transference of skills is so easy, why do we not see more senior police officers recruited by the private sector becoming instant successes in private industry?

It is also a huge slap in the face, and very de motivating, to existing officers within the service who aspire to the Superintending ranks. We feel that we currently have the talent within the WYP.  We are the 4th largest force in the country, and face a host of major and critical incidents on a daily basis.  Exposure in a busy force such as this will give officers the opportunity to acquire the requisite skill set to become successful leaders.  These individuals will be expected to advise and support the Direct Entry candidate to ensure good decision making.  Why not cut out the middle man, develop leadership within,  identify and promote on ability,  investing in  operationally capable and competent officers who will have the credibility and experience to drive the organisation forward successfully ?

Most importantly of all, Direct Entry candidates will have absolutely no credibility, no experience, and no confidence of the officers they are expected to lead, in situations they have never experienced.  Respect the rank, yes, but will the individual command respect ?  The will have absolutely no  understanding of critical issues such as Firearms and Public Order incidents, and making crucial operational decisions.  Officer and public safety could be compromised by inexperienced decision making.  Direct Entry will increase the possibility of unnecessary harm and risk to public, officers  the individual,  and the organisation.

It is not good for the service, and it is certainly not good for the public to have this scheme .  We have the talent already from warranted officers at all ranks within the service, perhaps that is where we should start.  You simply cannot teach Experience.  You cannot buy Credibility.

Date posted: March 4, 2014

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