Before I start, I should lay my cards on the table. I actually really enjoyed my time in the Met Police as a PC on a response team. I left having somehow managed to nab three commendations, and an exemplary conduct ‘certificate’ upon my retirement.
Apart from the 12-hour hospital guards, the crime scene cordons, the leaders with no leadership skills (not all, but some) and the ‘adults’ who rely on the Police as some sort of quasi-social services, my time in the Met was extremely rewarding.
I only left the Met to start my own business up, but I still miss the ‘rawness’ of being on a response team and working out of one of the busiest nicks in London. I also miss the banter, and, more importantly, the people; my fellow PCs.
What I do not miss, however, is the willingness of certain individuals within the Police Force, to completely stitch up their own colleagues. Colleagues who, if needed, would race to a 999 call with them, and potentially put themselves in harms way in order to save their oppo or a member of the public’s life.
As an example, let’s take the case of Met Police Officer PC Thomas Hooper, who is currently being dragged before a disciplinary hearing accused of “stealing” a tin of biscuits. An Inspector has asserted that “theft is theft”….
Is that’s the case, then we need to start an urgent investigation, into all those Police Officers who, when buying a tea, have gone back to the milk dispenser in order to “steal” some more milk, as their tea became a bit too strong, owing to the length of time the tea bag stayed in the cup…
We also need to urgently investigate all of the Police Officers who have taken pens home at the end of their busy 12 hour shifts, without returning them the following day.
And let us not forget, the Officers who should be brought before the DPS (the Police who Police the Police) for taking home the sheets of paper that were used to write down their ‘to do’ lists on. Their personal ‘to do’ list rather than their work ones…
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But you get the point I am trying to make.
What is even sadder, is that the Police ENCOURAGE potential leaders, to stitch-up (or stick on) their subordinates in order to ‘prove themselves’ to be “good leaders”. Of course, I am not saying that, in this particular case, this is what is happening. But it DOES happen. I saw it with my own eyes.
When I served in the military, I had the honour of reporting to some of the BEST managers I have ever come into contact with. And not one of them, would stitch up their troops in the same way that PC Thomas Hooper appears to have been stitched up.
Anyway, back to my days in the Met. I often had items of food that ‘went missing’. In particular, I remember bringing a home-made cheese and pickle sandwich into work, that was left in the canteen cupboard.
Before I could eat it, me and my oppo had to respond to an urgent call for help made by a member of the public. Upon my return back to the nick several hours later, the succulent and wholesome sandwich, had unexpectedly and mysteriously disappeared.
What did I do about it?
Sod all. That’s what. Because I left the food in a communal area, and there are more important things to worry about when serving as a Police Officer than tracking down the suspect who dared to satisfy their hunger by gorging on my cheese and pickle sandwich.
Having read some of the reports this morning, it would appear that the panels Chairperson, Naheed Asjad, has some extremely undervalued, but extremely vital common sense. She has made an observation to the Inspector in the case (who I presume was the Officers’ Supervisor at the time):
“You have a sergeant and an inspector and a box of biscuits that have gone missing and the only thing you can come up with is to refer the matter to DPS (Directorate of Professional Standards)?”
Ms Blake, the then Inspector, replied that “the option of going to the DPS was because of the gravity of the incident”.
Ms Asjad pointed out that an offer had been made by PC Hooper to replace the biscuits.
Ms Blake said: “By that time the biscuits had been eaten and, in my mind, theft is theft. How was he going to put the biscuits back?”
I guess that you guys, the readers of this article, both civilians and emergency services oppos, will make your own minds up, in relation to your thoughts as to whether or not PC Hooper should be dragged before a disciplinary panel, for “stealing” a tin of biscuits which, I assume, would be worth no more than £5.
But, in my own humble opinion, PC Hooper should not have been put before the panel.
If I was his Inspector at the time, I would have done what 99% of the best managers I have had the privilege of working for (both in the armed forces and the Police) would have done: had a one-to-one chat with him, like adults, and ask him not to make these sort of silly MISTAKES again.
What does not help, however, is the ridiculous emphasis that the job puts on potential managers to, at some point, stick their oppos on in order to prove their ‘worth’ as a Leader.
I bet that some £10,000 per day management consultancy firm, came up with the ridiculous notion that, in order to be a ‘good’ manager or leader, you have to actively seek out colleagues who may have proven that they are human, by making an honest mistake.
And, once you have found them, you should ruin their career. But in doing so, you are proving to the upper echelons that you have what it takes to be a true leader…
Written by one of the many Admins of Emergency Services Humour on Facebook, who is also a regular contributor to our fortnightly ‘digital magazine’ that packed full of EXCLUSIVE content and is emailed straight to subscribers.
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