‘We need to encourage diversity in the police’
13:21 07 February 2013
Newham Police Borough Commander Rob Jones
There has been a lot of debate recently about the quality of leadership and values in the Met Police, the way officers are recruited and rewarded for their job, and the way victims of crime are treated.
I feel privileged to work with some capable and committed people in the police, officers and staff, from every walk of life, but I do feel that as an organisation we need to do more to encourage as wide a pool of people as possible to consider a career in the police.
It has long been a tradition that everyone starts “on the beat” in the police - and I would be wary of the motives of anyone who wants to become a senior leader in the Met, but does not want to do the front line job of delivering the service in communities.
But I also want capable, local people to choose the police over other careers, and to feel confident that if they commit and join us they will have fulfilling and rewarding careers. Sometimes we need to try different approaches.
The Commissioner has recently been bold in seeking to recruit the best graduates who have the potential to become Police Inspectors within a short period of time, and I went to the College of Policing at Bramshill to help with the assessment process curious to see what kind of people had applied for the scheme.
Most (but not all) of the people I assessed were young, they were full of enthusiasm, potential, and fresh ideas, with a strong sense of service and optimism about the difference the police can make to communities.
I left impressed, and looking forward to the value they will add to an already rich pool of talent when they join us.
It will take some time for new recruits to be selected and trained, but by August, we will welcome the first wave of new officers to Newham.
For some, it will be their first experience of policing and of East London; others will have already served as volunteer special constables and may have the benefit of local knowledge.
All will have local training and mentoring from experienced officers to build on their knowledge and skills, and input from local community leaders to understand what people need in Newham.
My messages to them will be simple: always put the needs of the victim first. Help them to feel safe, and give practical help when you can. Never be too busy to listen to their concerns. Explain what will happen next. Honesty and integrity are not negotiable and strive to be professional in all that you do. Policing can be tough.
The new officers will need help and direction to give their best service back to you - so if you see an unfamiliar face in a police uniform in your neighbourhood please stop to say hello and help them to understand what crime and safety issues matter most to you and your families.