Can the Police Promotion Process be Improved to Create better Leaders?


I’m no expert in this as after 30 years in the Police I rose to the heady rank of Constable due to witnessing some of the hoops that those after promotion were forced to jump through and thinking that I don’t want to put myself through that so I didn’t take the ‘Devil’s Coin’. But I do have some observations from the ‘shop floor’.

I don’t know what criteria are used currently but, in my opinion, these should be included.

1.   What is their attitude towards Mental Health and what have they done to improve the Mental Health of their staff?

We all know the devastating effect ‘the Job’ can have on a Police Officer’s Mental Health and more needs to be done to protect Officers throughout their service. Imagine the projects and schemes that there could be if some of our best minds had to provide evidence of this to get a promotion.

2.   Base their promotion in part on reviews from their staff on their performance. Difficult one this one as there will always be the disgruntled but a good leader should expect that any comments that their staff make about them are in the main positive. Could this potentially weed out the bullies that we have all come across in our service?

3.   It always seems to be that a new boss comes in and changes things around. I don’t know how true it is but I’ve been told that, depending upon the rank they are going for, they have to evidence ‘change’ at a local or National level. But, what if they come in to take over and their predecessor has already implemented a process that works really well? Do they think, damn I’m going to have to change that now? Leaving their staff thinking “Here we go again”.


Why can’t they come in and run with what’s in place with that process and be judged upon improving it rather than changing something?

4.   All promotions seem to be temporary for 12 months but I can’t ever recall anyone not being confirmed in rank at the end of that time period. Does anyone ever re-examine the evidence that was submitted originally? For example, let’s say that part of their evidence was that they implemented a new system that will improve efficiency in some way. After 12 months just before they get confirmed in rank, does anyone have another look and see if that system actually does what it says on the tin? If it doesn’t, don’t confirm them in rank. That should, hopefully, ensure that only projects/systems etc. that actually work and improve the job for staff are implemented.


Just a few thoughts on that process from me and they are just my opinions.



Dave Leigh – 30 Year Constable.

Director – No Duff UK.