This is the official blog of Sgt Ellie Bloggs, a real live police sergeant on the front line of England. It's not the official opinion of my police force, but all the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't pay my salary.


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Sunday, March 08, 2009

How to Get Ahead

My readers will be pleased to hear that the process of being promoted in the police has, in recent years, moved away from the nepotism of the 1980s and 90s, and is now completely fair and above-board.

It used to be the case that those PCs who had been noticed as especially competent would swiftly achieve an Acting Sergeant post. Sometimes this was just luck as to whether the superintendent was on duty when a PC had a particularly good day, but the idea was that over time the good people would be identified. The promotion board would then be conducted by someone who had actually seen them in action as a sergeant and was determined to have them promoted within his area.

It was soon pointed out that this process was exceedingly unfair, as it meant that PCs who were totally incompetent and useless had absolutely no chance of being promoted. As a result, promotion boards were moved to headquarters and conducted by people who had never worked with the applicant. That way they couldn't be biassed against them by witnessing their daily cock-ups. Now, it is fair to say that competence has very little bearing on promotion, which is of course what every 21st Century employer should strive for.

On the other side of the coin, the disadvantage of headquarters-based promotion is that it prevents local superintendents from conducting legitimate vendettas against people they don't like for no good reason. Vendettas like these are the cornerstone of good area management: if newly-promoted sergeants and inspectors are allowed to run amok with their own leadership styles and ideas, how can the area ever place performance figures above commonsense where they belong?

Never fear, my own area has solved this crisis. For whilst formal promotion must be done through headquarters, nobody can stop local superintendents from giving temporary promotions and Acting posts to whoever they want. All that needs to be done is ensure that every post going is a temporary one, which can just be extended indefinitely. The chosen candidate is then assured of being the only person who has any relevant experience when they go for their actual board.

A victory over bureauracy, I think you will agree. The fact that over half of the well-qualified and competent PCs and sergeants in Blandmore have zero hope of ever being promoted is just a minor drawback.

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'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.

25 Comments:

Blogger Hogday said...

In some ways it's a tough call as to which system is worse. Frankly, it wouldn't matter either way providing there was a system of DE-motion, outside of the unsuitable disciplinary procedures, so that the incompetent, the hapless, the hopeless and the downright fuckall useless could be quickly identified and removed from their office. But, sadly, the same system that puts them up the ranks cannot recognise it's disasters afterwards, let alone select purposefully and consistently in the first place. I've had some stonking bosses who I'd follow anywhere, had a majority who were OK, but in almost equal numbers at the other end of the scale I've had those who couldn't lead a charge on an empty shithouse, but still they sat there drawing their managers pay. C`est la vie.

08 March, 2009 16:31

 
Anonymous Retired "Brother" Sgt said...

If you want promotion then its simple join THE MASONS-I declined an invite many years ago and I never did promoted beyond Sgt-mind you I still have friends!!!
Oh by the way I thought police regs said that anyone who held a Temporary rank for a year must be made substantive-or has it changed-and where are the FED-they should be resoving this situation-or is the kettle boiling again?

08 March, 2009 17:00

 
Anonymous PC Michael Pinkstone said...

Hogday wrote: "At the other end of the scale I've had those who couldn't lead a charge on an empty shithouse".

So extremely true. Still, it's not just the police that's buggered. Promotion has nothing whatsoever to do with competence, and it never has. My old line manager in the bookshop years ago was promoted to the rank of 'Director' simply to remove her from ever having contact with members of the public ever again.

It's the same everywhere.

08 March, 2009 17:10

 
Anonymous pcR said...

Hmmm. I think it's much better the modern way, where promotion is gained solely on the ability to fill in a "competancy" form drawn up by civvies with no knowledge of police work, or the real world, frankly.
These applications are then judged at the paper stage by the same civvies, and then sealed by a presentation marked by the same civvies.
Success, of course, is based on such spurious elements as how many hate crimes you have investigated in the last 6 months, and how many community meetings you have attended.
Not on ability or knowledge. We don't want those in the modern police force......

08 March, 2009 20:09

 
Anonymous MarkUK said...

Retired Brother wrote:

If you want promotion then its simple join THE MASONS

I don't think this option is open to Ellie Bloggs!

Such cynicism! Mind you, about 15-18 years ago I went for a promotion (in industry, not police). I knew I was in with a shout, and eventually learned that it was between me and another bloke. Then it all went quiet. eventually I was told that the business had decided to look outside "for new blood".

The person who got the job was a black single mother. So, black [tick], female [tick], "disadvantaged" [tick]. The only box she couldn't tick was lesbian!

Not only did she prove incompetent, she also lied about her qualifications. It was two years before they got rid of her.

Frankly I don't mind being beaten to a job by someone who is likely to be better at it, male or female, gay or straight, black, white, orange or green, but this was a case of reverse discrimination at its worst.

Still, the business didn't repeat the exercise for a while.

08 March, 2009 21:51

 
Anonymous Dr Melvin T Gray said...

That women are denied admission to Freemasonry is popular myth. Many female members of police and judiciary are masons, although WPC's encounter absolute resistance when seeking admission to the darker world of exclusive police lodges.

It is no myth that either sex is eternally compromised by Freemasonry. Swearing an oath of allegiance to a secret society whilst pledging to serve the interests of public service, is the model leading to abuse of trust and position. For those with no such qualms, it is the 24 carat promotion guarantee; irrespective of other orientations and competence. For the moment.

08 March, 2009 22:26

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing changes, back in the 80's I transferred from the MPD to a small County force, all fired up to take promotion. My new 'Super' on first meeting me told me in no uncertain terms what he thought of the MPD.He left me with the impression that I was something nasty he had stood in. I soon learnt that passing the exam was the easy bit finding a sponsor and not being a 'lodge member' were distinct drawbacks in climbing the greasy pole but I thought that once my friend the 'Super' moved on things would be different. They were. Times were a changing and I now found that I was firstly the wrong gender and then my skin colour counted against me. I know it sounds like sour grapes but it isn't when I saw the writing on the wall I stood back from that greasy pole and concentrated on doing the best job I could.
Hogday is right - there are some superb supervisors sadly not very many for whom I had only the greatest of respect, then a large group of individuals who simply seemed outside their comfort zone most of the time and bent with the wind and a minority who saw promotion as a means of escape from the streets and often were simply dangerous and best avoided

08 March, 2009 23:04

 
Anonymous David said...

On an unrelated note, I recommend watching Law & Order: UK to anyone who enjoys a good laugh. This week's special: a defence of automatism based on a genetic predisposition to criminality. Evidently no-one could be bothered to look in a book to see what automatism actually means...

09 March, 2009 00:05

 
Blogger Hogday said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

09 March, 2009 09:14

 
Blogger Hogday said...

David's comment, above re automatism:

I agree, a real good laugh. I seem to recall, from my promotion study days, something about automatism being linked with a tale of a man being stung by a bee whilst driving a car. Comic stuff. Either way its probably best left to the CPS, after all, we don't want another avenue opened up to make them look even less able to bring a case. For an even bigger laugh, I once studied criminology - priceless!

09 March, 2009 09:19

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing changes even in Australia. I know of several jobs in a force of 10 000, where 40 applicants some of whom were on the rank already (OIC - Snr/Sgt) applications were all deemed unsatisfactory. Allowed the area boss to put his man in place until they could advertise again and low and behold the bloke filling in was now deemed the best applicant.
Now my own lowly rank. As i dont know anybody, dont play golf, etc. I cant get promoted, but at my own station, I get tasked a lot of the difficult paperwork incidents, bcause "we know you'll do a good job." Unfortunately no one is leaving for me to get some luck with promotion at my own station. But I see people who I trained getting promotions around the place. Then get told your application is poor, despite seeing 4 panel co-ordinators on resume, the next one doesn't like what you changed it too from the last meeting. They are starting to know that I keep everything and then argue the point about changes, that i finally managed an interview recently. Fingers crossed this year.

Bodie

09 March, 2009 09:38

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All organisations suffer from the Peter Principle - that people tend to be promoted up to their "level of incompetence" (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_principle ). Frequently the reaction by senior management to the discovery that a pormoted person is incompetent is to promote them sidewards to get them out their own part of the organisation. Sometimes they try training which occasionally works. It is extraordinarily dificult to confront the individual, and then what do you do, as demotion is constructive dismissal.

The police with the ability to have an acting sergeant, say, should have produced a system to reduce the chance of incompetency, but that does depend on the promotion board actually paying attention to those who have seen the acting sergeant' performance.

09 March, 2009 11:19

 
Anonymous MarkUK said...

"Dr" Grey with his usual BS I see.

09 March, 2009 21:27

 
Anonymous TheBinarySurfer said...

Having worked for 11 different bosses within 5+ different companies in my working life i can say that the vast majority of them haven't got an f'ing clue. 2/11 were smart, switched on and knew what the job was about and how best to get it done. The rest weren't worth the nameplate on their door.

I think the problem is that large companies / organisations can promote incompetents and survive as they can "soak" the losses caused by poor management usually. Smaller / Privately owned businesses often go bankrupt unless they know what they're about.

I'm curious - has anyone EVER come across a ACC/DCC/CC who is switched on and savvy to the job? The few of that rank i've ever interacted with directly couldn't find their own arse with both hands and some help.

10 March, 2009 09:01

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Female PCs can join the Eastern Star in Scotland which is effectively the ladies branch of the Masons. My dad told me that the Masons isn't a 'Secret Society' more of a 'Society with Secrets'. As far as I am concerned it is a chance to get a cheaper pint of beer and is nothing more than a dangerous wee drinking club for inadequate men with small willies who need a hand to get on in the world.

10 March, 2009 11:13

 
Anonymous R/T said...

Binary Surfer - Peter Imbert and John Stevens were excellent, as far as it affected me

10 March, 2009 15:02

 
Anonymous TheBinarySurfer said...

Fair enough - wasn't one of them Blair's predecessor?

10 March, 2009 15:54

 
Anonymous Oi said...

I had some great supervisors, who I would have followed through the gates of Hell to help stamp out the fire.
I had a few that wouldnt have been able to find those gates with a map & compass and I avoided them as much as possible.
When promoted, I tried to emulate the former.
Its hard to judge yourself, but there were a steady number of staff wishing to transfer to our team....
What I do know is, that if one of my staff was hung out to dry, my arse was there hanging right alongside his/hers!

Oh, and although a freemason, I was promoted in spite of it - the superior who supported me, was a dyed in the wool, rabid, bible-thumping Catholic.

10 March, 2009 23:54

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Oi,
The 'rabid, bible-thumping' superior you refer to, (who was generous enough to support your application for promotion), was probably unaware of your Masonic ties as he was of your inclination to afford him your treacherous remarks in gratitude.

11 March, 2009 08:21

 
Anonymous Oi said...

No anonymous, or Gray or whoever you are, he was perfectly well aware. Not a lot escaped his notice.
He was a man far from the one I expect you to be though - he was one of those I would follow through the gates mentioned above.

11 March, 2009 17:32

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I take it from all the talk of promotion that you are doing the part 1 again, which may be a reason as to why the blogs have been a little spaced. If you are good luck if not then it just goes to show how good a bobby I am and that my promotion must be only round the corner

13 March, 2009 22:01

 
Blogger Bullseye said...

The trouble with the promotion system in west yorkshire is, that even if you do pass the exams, then you need Divisional support and then the boards await.
Once they are won over, you are home and dry.
Too many obstacles and as long as part of it is opinion based rather than knowledge or talent based, then it can never be fair.

www.westyorkshirepolice.blogspot.com

18 March, 2009 10:58

 
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