Our mission is to transform communities, reduce crime and increase the public’s confidence in policing, by recruiting and developing outstanding and diverse individuals to be leaders in society and on the policing frontline.
Earlier this week I was delighted to hear that Simon Woolley, Operation Black Vote’s Director and a member of Police Now’s Board of Trustees, is to be knighted.
Whenever I spend time with Simon, I am reminded just how inspiring an individual he is. He has now been on the frontline of high-profile campaigns to transform our society for well over two decades. Simon has never shied away from highlighting social and racial injustice, speaking truth to power, and being a supporter to those trying to make progress within our society. Given the scale of the challenges that we continue to face as a country, with the progress and the many setbacks he has seen over those years, it is nothing short of remarkable that he continues on his mission with such determination every single day.
I first met Simon five years ago and I knew straight away that he shared Police Now’s mission to support the police service become truly reflective of our society by recruiting and developing men and women from every background. From our conversations, I knew that he was an avowed believer in the Peelian principle that, ‘the police are the public and the public are the police’. He and I really do believe that there can barely be any more urgent task than creating a police service which is representative of the communities we serve.
I have hugely appreciated Simon’s honest, direct and supportive challenge – pushing Police Now to continually lift our ambitions and strive to achieve what is both possible and essential to the future of the police service and our society. Simon’s expertise and drive has undoubtedly helped us develop new ways of attracting people to policing who might not otherwise have considered policing as a career. Despite all of that though, I know that while we’ve made some progress, we still have a long way to go.
Speaking about his knighthood, Simon said:
“I am truly honoured and humbled. For the past 24 years I’ve had the best job in the world. I wake up in the morning racing with ideas about how I can change our world, challenge racism, transform institutions, and inspire working-class young men and women to be the best they can be.”
All of us at Police Now send our congratulations to Simon for this well-deserved recognition and I am hugely grateful for his work, with both Police Now and Operation Black Vote, to tackle inequality, improve racial justice and create a police service that truly reflects the communities we serve.
Recent crime figures for England and Wales released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that knife crime has risen to record levels. In the year ending December 2018 there were over 44,000 offences recorded by police involving a knife or sharp instrument, up 33 per cent since the year ending March 2011.
Knife crime and serious youth violence continues to affect the lives of many young people living in Britain. Police officers across the country are working tirelessly to tackle this spread of violence. We’ve recently spoken to PC Roberts who is the Dedicated Ward Officer for Lower Edmonton in Enfield, London and a participant on the Police Now programme.
PC Roberts, what are the challenges facing your policing team in Edmonton?
Lower Edmonton is one of the 10 percent most deprived wards in the UK.
As a borough, Enfield is one of the most challenged areas for serious youth violence, with 620 knife crime offences reported in 2018.
60 per cent of victims and suspects are 10-30 years old and 80 per cent are male.
(Stats from the Enfield Crime Reduction Implementation Team (ECRIT) Performance Report, January 2019)
What have you and your team been doing to address serious youth violence?
Given the specific profile of those vulnerable to being involved with knife crime, my team and I targeted schools and a boxing club in the local area of Lower Edmonton, to try and break the cycle of crime amongst young people.
We ran informative sessions in Eldon Primary School to gather perceptions about policing from the pupils and to understand the factors that may be preventing them from seeking help or reporting a crime. I then implemented a survey of 120 pupils at Lower Edmonton School, where I found that 50 percent of pupils thought the police existed solely to arrest people and the same numbers felt worried or scared when they saw the police. With this data, we worked with the local schools, a boxing club, the Edmonton Eagles and the Schools officers, safeguarding and council staff to increase understanding of the police role and develop positive relationships with young people in the area.
How have you involved the local community?
By working closely with the schools and talking to the children, coffee mornings at Eldon Children Centre, and using our school network to target contact points. We provided students with the opportunity of 12 community boxing sessions, inviting the most challenging schools in the area to join. I’ve even started training myself at the Edmonton Eagle boxing club!
We also raised the profile of our team’s knife crime operations by maintaining an active social media profile. We tailored posts to the local area to help reassure the public and maintain confidence as they can see first-hand the action being taken by their local policing team.
Have you had any feedback and what are you planning next?
I have engaged a local mosque, running self-defence classes with the girls whilst my male colleagues are working with young male attendees of the mosque. We arranged a trip to the custody suite, because the children were interested and had asked us a lot of questions about them. Looking at the evidence-base, we were careful to avoid scaremongering, but focused instead on education and community engagement. On 22nd June the neighbourhood team and boxing club are running a community event to raise awareness about knife crime. One teacher from Lower Edmonton Primary School said:
“Beth and Nick left our children, parents and Staff with food for thought, a positive insight into the Police and dispelled many myths. They are an absolute credit to the force.”
PC Beth Roberts spoke to Police Now Forces Partnerships Officer, Ingrid Leake
This week we hear from PC Rees, a Police Now participant with Hertfordshire Constabulary. PC Rees shares his experience as an officer with a hidden disability:
“My name is PC Oliver Rees and I was born three months prematurely, weighing 2 lbs. I have a form of mild Cerebral Palsy called Muscular Diplegia, because my brain was starved of oxygen for some time during my birth. Muscular Diplegia affects all the muscles in my body and essentially means that it takes me twice as much muscle power to do things than those without a disability. At this stage in my life, it particularly effects my fine motor muscles. I always wanted to join the police but was told throughout my childhood that I could never be a police officer.
I’m pleased to say I joined the constabulary in 2017 and I am proud to be part of the Police Now programme, and the first Police Now cohort in Hertfordshire. I currently work for the Safer Neighbourhood Team in Holywell, West Watford.
I was born with my disability and will have it for my entire life, however I have worked extremely hard to get to where I am today. I wore double leg casts twice a year to straighten my legs when I was younger, and am now virtually completely able-bodied, going to the gym daily.
I am lucky to say that even though I do have Muscular Diplegia, which affects all my muscles in my body, it only affects my day-to-day policing life in a few ways. Firstly my muscles get tired more easily which leads to stiffness, but as I am used to this my resilience is very high. My feet will also occasionally ‘turn in’ when I am walking, more so when I am tired. My writing is affected, as my Diplegia has an impact on my fine motor muscles leading to poor, small and often illegible writing. To combat this, I have been issued with a work laptop to aid with my paperwork.
If you met me, you would not believe I have a disability by looking at me. It means that my disability it somewhat ‘hidden’ and people often make comments to me if they notice anything different about me. For example, why was I issued a laptop before my colleagues? It’s not obvious looking at me that I am disabled and sometimes, explaining this to the able-bodied can be challenging.
Although I have experienced some issues in the workplace, usually because it looks to someone that I’m getting ‘special treatment’, it is few and far between. I must commend the force support networks, from the HDCN (Herts Disability and Carers Network) to well-being champions and especially my Sergeants and Inspectors. Whenever I have had an issue or needed to talk about anything, they have been there to support me and made sure any issues are resolved. The support I have received from my team has been fantastic.
When I was first applying to become a police officer I remember being incredibly worried about declaring my disability, as I thought it might affect my chances of success. This, I cannot stress enough, couldn’t be further from the truth, but I feel it is an easy thought to slip into when you have a disability.
I am proud to be an officer with a disability. I feel that growing up and living through adversity teaches you how to be strong and how to get through almost anything that stands in your way. I am also aware that there are bound to be many others out there who have a disability, but are too worried to be open about it through fear of stigma. I understand this, I really do, but implore you to come forward as there are so many avenues of support out there to help you through any issues you face.
I am always happy to help anyone with queries or questions about working in the police with a disability. Please get in touch via email@example.com and I’ll do my best to answer or direct you to the right place.
All that is left to say is thank you for taking the time to read my story”.
This blog was originally published on the Hertfordshire Constabulary intranet.
The new National Detective Programme offers university graduates with at least two years’ post-university work experience the opportunity to consider switching career to become trainee detective constables. We are currently recruiting candidates from around the country through our new Police Now Detectives website, and our first Detective Academy will start in September 2019.
The National Detective Programme will train and develop graduates with strong leadership skills to become police officers and detectives. It is Police Now’s mission to transform communities, and we believe that outstanding police officers can help change lives. Just like our existing leadership development programme, the detective programme offers graduates a unique opportunity to make a positive impact in society. The new programme also offers to those who join the opportunity to contribute to the excellent work already being done up and down the country by colleagues already working in policing.
Successful applicants to the programme will become fully warranted police officers. Following an initial and highly intensive 12 weeks of training, during which officers will receive a blend of theoretical training and practical skills development, officers will spend two months in uniform on a response team. After this, officers will be deployed to detective teams, where they will be guided to take responsibility for investigating offences from early on in the programme.
Police officers in our existing leadership development programme have already started to achieve a huge amount in some of the most vulnerable communities around the country, and we hope that over time those on the Police Now National Detective Programme will be able to make a contribution to those communities.
Hi, my name’s Andy and I’m a Leadership Development Officer at Police Now. I’m adding the finishing touches to this blog while on the train heading back home from work.I wanted to take you on a journey into what my life looks like in this role on a day-to-day basis. This is just one day and it’s filled with new challenges and experiences. I don’t think I’ve had two days the same in this role. I love the variety.
“Today, I’m meeting a Police Now officer at their police station, another officer in their local coffee shop and then heading into the office to work on developing our next skill session to better prepare our officers to meet the demands of our Leadership Development Programme.
I work with Police Now officers in the Met and in forces as far afield as Merseyside. The travel is demanding but I feel a great sense of support from my managers and my team. There are times where I am travelling and working away from home but I know my colleagues are just a phone call away. I definitely enjoy the challenge of being flexible and adaptable with my working patterns.
Our Police Now officers or participants are at the centre of everything I do. I am about to get on a train to meet one of my officers. We are going to discuss their professional development and the impact they are having in their local neighbourhoods. I’ve been trained to have these important coaching conversations, but I’ve also brought a lot of experiences and knowledge from my previous life as a teacher. I’m looking forward to seeing what my participant is doing well, but also keen to stretch them and guide them to making a greater impact in their role.
I was quite daunted the first time I stepped into a police station. Every station is different and it’s a place I had never been before. I’ve enjoyed gaining a deeper insight into the great work that the police are doing and building positive professional relationships with sergeants, inspectors and other ranking officers. It’s a privilege being able to influence and work with these key individuals to gain a deeper appreciation of the Police Now values and mission.
Back at the office now, it’s a great chance to reconnect and reflect on my practice as a coach with a diverse team from a variety of backgrounds. We have former police officers, teachers and consultants to name but a few of us. Being able to share expertise within the team has given me the opportunity to develop my professional skills as a coach, and more broadly, as an individual.
A coffee shop is not the usual place you would expect to meet a police officer, but as an LDO we often meet the participants out in the field in places where they feel most comfortable. There is a good balance between being out on the road and being in the office. It brings great variety. There is also diversity in the roles we undertake. I can coach, mentor, teach, monitor well-being, project manage, assess and innovate all in the space of one week. “
Part of the Police Now vision is to reduce crime and increase the public’s confidence in policing. I think our participants can do a fantastic job working on these aspects independently. The third part of Police Now’s vision is to transform communities. I believe this is where the role of LDO is so important. We are perfectly placed to stretch and challenge our participants to develop themselves as young professionals who make a tremendous impact in their communities. During my time as an LDO with Police Now, I hope to develop myself as a well-rounded professional who can coach and develop people effectively, and by doing so, make my contribution to the great work Police Now are doing around the country.
If you are interested in the Leadership Development Officer role, Apply Now.
During the second year of training with Police Now, participants can apply for an external secondment with one of our partner organisations, an opportunity that is totally unique to the Police Now programme. Secondments are offered across a range of private sector organisations and charities. This access supports participants’ professional development and presents valuable opportunities, for skills exchange and building closer working relationships within the community. Two Police Now neighbourhood officers recently completed a placement with Veterans Aid, a charity that supports ex-servicemen and women in crisis, particularly where it threatens to lead to homelessness.
Dr Hugh Milroy, CEO of Veterans Aid, welcomed the partnership between Police Now and VA, saying:
“We also operate on the ‘frontline’, combating homelessness, social isolation and the many societal ills that can lead to crime. There is real synchronicity of objectives between this charity and Police Now and we fully support its aims.”
Karina Puttock, a neighbourhood officer in Sussex and Hannah Stark, a neighbourhood officer in Humberside, spent time with the charity, working in its Operations Room and learning about the roles of individual staff members.
Karina said,“They were four of the most valuable weeks I have worked. I have a lot of friends and family in the military, so it is a charity close to my heart. Although we don’t have a military base in Sussex, traditionally veterans are transient and tend to go back to the place they know.
“As a result of my time with Veterans Aid, I am now working on a project based on how police deal with veterans in crisis and how we can standardise this to ensure a consistently high level of support to ex-servicemen and women. I’ve learnt a lot and built good relationships within the charity.
PC Karina Puttock
“In my line of work, I am regularly frustrated with how procedure and policy gets in the way of providing immediate help and relief to the most vulnerable people. There is always a threshold which is not quite met, or a long waiting list for already overwhelmed services. At Veterans Aid, once someone asks for help, the help is there almost immediately and from a policing perspective it was so nice to see people getting the help almost straight away.
“Although the charity is quick to act for those in need, there is also an incredibly strong focus on prevention, which I believe is essential, and it really sets them apart.”
Karina was followed by Hannah who said about her placement:
“I was lucky enough to get an attachment with Veterans Aid, a charity which supports homeless veterans. I was constantly amazed by the work they did. The willingness to help, the dedication and passion of the employees who work there is something quite special to watch. During my time at VA I saw people come in at their lowest – and leave with so much support from the team. I was surprised by just how much I learned.”
Dr Milroy added, “We have a well-established relationship with the Metropolitan Police but local forces are equally valuable in terms of linking us up with vulnerable veterans in their communities. A timely phone call or email can avoid significant hardship, needless travel and great personal distress.
Through the exchange of skills with Police Now, we are able to share with officers what we do at Veterans Aid and how they can impact on the well-being of vulnerable veterans in their community, before they become homeless or driven to crime. It really is a win-win situation!”
For more information about the Police Now programme and secondments, please see our latest Impact Report.
Nick Healey and Graeme Ironside from the Volunteer Police Cadets (VPC) would like to hear from any Police Now participants who would be willing to be involved with the Mini Police. Nick’s blog below provides some information for any Police Now participant interested in social action and future opportunities to engage with the VPC.
Mini Police with officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary
Based in primary schools, Mini Police is a fun and interactive volunteering opportunity for 9 to 11-year-old children. Led by school staff and supported by police, children will learn about policing issues, staying safe and undertaking some volunteering activity in support of a local policing priority. As well as benefitting the community, research highlights the benefits for the personal development of young people involved as well the positive benefits this can have on their overall trust and confidence in the police.
New funding for the Mini Police programme will provide additional opportunities for forces to open up policing to young people and engage them in imaginative ways that will help improve their trust and confidence in the police, supporting the aims of both Police Now and the VPC.
As Police Now highlight in their Case for Change 2014, the Police Now mission is to transform communities, reduce crime and increase the public’s confidence in policing and become a force for social change. The overarching aim is to break the intergenerational cycle of crime in the most deprived areas by creating safe, confident communities in which people can thrive and adopting a long-term preventative approach in order to do so. Similarly, the National Police Chiefs Council’s ‘Policing Vision 2025’ sets out plans for policing and highlights how communities are increasingly diverse and complex, necessitating a more sophisticated and collaborative response to the challenges both now and in the future.
The Mini Police programme provides such a response and could help you in your own mission!
Following on from recent presentations at the Police Now Digital Skills seminars, highlighting the benefits of Police Now and VPC working together, VPC would like to encourage Police Now participants to sign up in their local areas. Please consider the potential value that the Mini Police programme could play in your local community to support problem solving and positively impact on community confidence.
For more information on the Mini Police programme, plans for your force area and opportunities to get involved and helped develop the programme, please contact Graeme or I on the details below:
I joined Police Now’s programme last year and wanted to share my experience of how community policing can make a difference. I was in my small neighbourhood station on a sunny autumnal afternoon, finishing off paperwork for the day. I’d been asked to visit a woman in our community who’d been the victim of thefts, and wanted to check on her welfare as a safeguarding measure.
When we got to the woman’s flat, it was unclean to the point of being unsanitary. There was no food in the kitchen. Few of the lights worked. Dirt coated the surfaces. She lived and slept in the same cramped living room. The woman was friendly, and happy to talk about her past. She told us that she had been abused as a child. An accident had made it difficult for her to walk and speak. For several decades she had lived largely in isolation, apart from infrequent encounters with her neighbours and people she met at the shops. Her remaining family lived far away. She received benefits, but probably less than she was entitled to because she ‘didn’t want to ask for help’, as she told us.
She contacted the police when a local drug addict began taking her benefits from her and using her house as a place for himself and others to take drugs. This drug addict (no doubt with problems of his own) had spotted the same thing that now concerned us: this woman’s intense vulnerability. He had exploited her need for friendship, and for her, one poor friendship had seemed better than none. There was paraphernalia for smoking heroin lying around the flat, and the woman’s bank statements lay on the table for anyone passing through her house, to see when she received her benefits and how much she had saved up. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that such things can happen in our modern society.
We arranged for a social worker to come and speak to the woman the following morning. Incredibly, social services did not yet have her on their records; somehow, over the years, she had slipped through the nets of several agencies. The social worker agreed that the woman was vulnerable and began to work out what could be done to help her. Although there isn’t a simple solution that can be offered to someone in this woman’s situation, we wanted to make sure she didn’t become a victim of crime again. Now, at least, the right agencies are aware of her and are trying to help.
Doing this kind of safeguarding work is one of my favourite things about the job and presents a great opportunity for us, as neighbourhood police officers, to make a real difference. Often, what initially seems like an incident involving relatively minor crime, masks significant safeguarding issues. There is no hard boundary between crime and safeguarding, though. Safeguarding is also proactive policing, as the kinds of people we meet are often victims of crime exactly because of their vulnerable position.
On the face of it, this incident involved three low-value thefts; it ended up being one of the more thought-provoking cases I’ve dealt with as a police officer so far.
We are very proud of the progress Police Now and our participants have made over the last 12 months. In this blog we share some of our highlights from the past year, with more detail in our 2018 Impact Report, as well as some of our plans for 2019.
Strengthening the police workforce with diversity and talent
Since 2015 we have recruited, trained and developed over 640 officers, many of who had not previously considered a career in policing, posting them to some of the country’s most challenged communities. In fact, 58% of our 2018 cohort told us they were not planning on joining the police before hearing about Police Now, reflecting our growing recognition within the graduate recruitment market.
For the first time we entered the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers and the Guardian UK 300 Best Graduate Employers. We also won the 2018 Institute of Student Employers Diversity and Inclusion Award, reflecting the ongoing work we are doing to attract candidates from under-represented groups. Of those who began the programme in 2018, 53% identify as female, 12% as BAME and 5% as BAME female from a range of academic, employment and socio-economic backgrounds. In our 2018 cohort, 11% of our intake identify as LGBTQ and 46% are the first in their family to go to university.
Ian Hopkins QPM, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, reflected on our work:
“Police Now is making an important contribution to workforce reform and representation, working and innovating with Greater Manchester Police and other forces around the country to achieve our common goals. Police Now are generating valuable learning on how to encourage into the service, those individuals who would not ordinarily consider a policing career”
Impact in the most deprived communities
We are particularly proud of our participants, and the impact they have made in neighbourhood roles around the country, alongside their excellent colleagues.
Police Now participants have embraced innovation as a central principle and applied problem-solving techniques to tackle knife crime amongst young people in Essex, educate parents and children on cybercrime in Lancashire and help vulnerable tenants in Cambridgeshire with anti-social behaviour. Whilst on the programme, participants attend five 100 Day Impact Events, where they are held to account on the impact they have made in their communities.
Out of these events we have successfully launched the ‘Police Now Impact Library’, a unique and growing collection of neighbourhood police work, problem-solving case studies and ‘how to’ guides that can be accessed by police officers and staff across the country. One police force partner said at our Impact 2018 Conference:
“The impact presentations were fascinating. It was very useful to hear about different types of crime across the country and how officers deal with them day to day”
Police Now partner forces
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our current and prospective partner forces for their support and belief in our mission, and for helping us reach more of the UK’s most challenged communities. Over the past five years, we have established partnerships with 28 forces across England and Wales. Data indicates that Police Now participants have now been deployed to half of England’s 50 most deprived neighbourhoods.
Eleanor Covell, from our 2015 Police Now cohort, described what it was like to be a part of the programme:
“Spending just over two years embedded in one community gave me the opportunity to interrogate issues fully and begin to develop a deep understanding of some very complex societal challenges. I felt that the programme gave me full ownership and responsibility to effect positive change in my community.”
Building our movement
After graduating from the two-year programme, Police Now participants can choose to continue working within policing or pursue a career elsewhere. Our figures show that 80% remained in policing, with many pursuing promotion opportunities. The remaining 20% have moved into other consultant roles in education, government, finance and professional services. Of those who have remained in policing, around a quarter are training or have become detectives, half have moved to response or other specialist roles and the remaining quarter stay in neighbourhood teams.
We have formed more partnerships with business and government, with the opportunity of our participants gaining experience in a professional environment and bringing back these skills into the police service and their community. Each secondment is application based, and highly competitive, where our students can apply to a range of organisations in the public, private and third sector.
Police Now is part of the Transform Alliance, along with our colleagues at Teach First, Think Ahead, Frontline Graduates and Unlocked Graduates. We believe more can be achieved by working together to encourage positive systemic social change. This year we have worked with our Transform partners to help tackle the problem of children going missing from care, presenting our recommendations to the Home Office for implementation.
We have recently announced our collaboration with the University of Huddersfield, to deliver a Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice, as part of the College of Policing’s professionalisation of police training. You can read more about this important milestone for Police Now in our previous blog here.
Next year we will be launching our pilot Detective programme, welcoming our new 2019 cohort of trainee Police Constables to our Summer Academy and we will be doing even more to encourage knowledge exchange and transfer of ideas in policing. Building on our successful programme, we will be launching a second Summer Academy in Manchester, and we’d like to again thank the Garfield Weston Foundation for their generous support to make this happen.
Police Now CEO and co-founder David Spencer says: “2018 has been a great year for Police Now. In particular I would like to thank our force partners, corporate and charity supports and the Home Office for their continued support, belief and investment in our mission. I’m looking forward to welcoming more Police Now participants next year, and would like to wish everyone an enjoyable festive season and happy new year”
Police Now are delighted to have been awarded further funding to recruit more Police Constables and Trainee Detective Constables. The policing minister Nick Hurd MP, announced in the police funding settlement today that “we will also support Police Now who are attracting fresh talent into neighbourhood policing and the role of detectives.”
This means Police Now will be able to recruit at least 250 neighbourhood police officers and 50-70 trainee detective constables, in a new pilot programme already announced this year.
Some of the money will support the pilot detective programme, currently in development, with more details to be announced next year.
Police Now has already recruited over 640 Police Constables (PCs) to date in 25 forces and we are currently recruiting a further 300 PCs for this year. Today’s funding will provide for at least 250 additional PCs in the future, meaning we will have recruited over 1200 frontline officers.
Police Now actively target individuals from diverse backgrounds. Of those who started the programme in 2018, 58% would not have considered a career in the police without Police Now, 53% identify as female, 12% identify as black and ethnic minority (24% in London) and 11% identify as LGBTQ.
Police Now only exists due to the continuous support from partner police forces, the Home Office and charitable donations. This additional support from the Home Office will help forces to invest further in neighbourhood policing, crime prevention, demand reduction and driving innovation through the policing frontline.
Police Now’s CEO David Spencer said:
“This additional funding represents a vote of confidence in our excellent participants and their incredible colleagues who are working to transform the most vulnerable communities, increasing public confidence and decreasing crime.”