This is the official blog of ex-Sgt Ellie Bloggs. I was a real live police constable then sergeant for twelve years, on the real live front line of England. I'm now a real live non-police person. 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 (or didn't) pay my salary.

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Yet again we are at that time of year.

It is the time when between
10 and 15 buffoons have us glued daily to our TV screens anxiously waiting for news of their next hilariously British catastrophe. With the nation's most powerful politicans playing out their pantomime, I'm almost tempted to go into politics. I think I could do better.

It is that thought which made me go for promotion. When you see your line manager fumbling through their day's work, trying to compromise between pleasing the organisation and pleasing his team of boot-stamping front-line PCs, it's easy to think you can do better. It's easy to think you'll stand firm in front of a stampede of policy, bureaucracy and micro-management. It's easy to imagine hacking effortlessly through years' worth of red tape and form-filling. But if it is that easy, I guess more people would be doing it.

Regardless of how good I may be at it, it is no easy process to get my stripes. Word-of-mouth, references, jolly good examples of jolly good police work, are no longer enough. Nowadays, a sergeant must know if s/he is transformational or transactional, and what this year's force priorities are. What is the difference between a delivery plan and service delivery? What are the six strands of diversity and how are YOU going to personally champion each and every one of them?

Is it possible to progress in an organisation where the only way to get promoted is to sign up to the very things you hope to be promoted to overturn? If you do progress, is it possible to stay true to the reasons why you did it?

Coming soon: The Application. Brace yourselves.

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


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04 June, 2009 20:30

Blogger Ex-RUC said...

Gosh, Ellie going for skipper! That should prove exciting.

04 June, 2009 20:44

Anonymous R/T said...

Good luck, buddy. re: the last para :- Yes, and No.

What % did you get, BTW? I got 52. Next time!

04 June, 2009 22:12

Blogger uniform said...

The application?

that mean yous is part one and duex then ?

Go on chick , lie your little cotton socks off, I did.

And whilst your doing that don't dare compare yourself to a Big Bro application video.

04 June, 2009 22:25

Blogger Metcountymounty said...

Good luck mate, as long as there is a requirement to sell your soul and join the safer neighbourhoods bandwagon in order to get the right 'evidence' for your stripes (in the Met anyway, as you said good policing isn't enough) then I'm happy where I am, it's not too hard earning more than an Insp anyway if you pull your finger out and get the right courses - and they still get fooked for overtime with no pay mwah hahahahah!!

05 June, 2009 01:23

Blogger Hogday said...

Yours are the same thoughts that motivated me, and believe me I loved my 10 years as a sgt until the third re-write of PaCE codes of practice. Thereafter, to quote Homer Simpson, it just got worse and worse. Hindsight isn't clever and looking back and weeping is crap but MCM has a very good point. As a C/I in the right post, I could earn some serious extra even though I was already happy with my lot, but I flatly refused to sell my soul and that was punishing. Once my ability to earn overtime was removed there wasn't even that to compensate for the slide down the tubes. As a skipper you're still part of the meat in the sarney but today the upper ranks are expected to be the knives trimming off the crusts. I just made it. For what its worth I wouldn't do it again under today's regime, but then my opinion doesn't count anyway. Good luck in whatever you decide. Good leaders are still wanted by those who do the real job.

05 June, 2009 09:23

Blogger Constable said...

Do you need some help? Mine is still frazzling my brain! Know all about the "buzzwords" though!


05 June, 2009 09:57

Blogger Frankie said...

Apparently they are soon to introduce a 7th strand of diversity.....Social Background.

05 June, 2009 10:19

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm on the promotions treadmill currently.

I have completed:
1. The study to be eligible for promotion, here in Queensland, Aust is called MDP. A years worth of assignments on Management and Law.
2. (I have actually have got this far) The application. You obviously give your service history, courses you have been on etc. (Not that anybody really cares) The next part is the selection criteria. Each examaple not more than 500 words. Such as. Demonstrated ability to apply legislation, policy and procedure in general duties. Lead and supervise staff, sound oral and written communication skills etc.
Usually about 5 to 6 of these.
The big trick however is the wording. We have career planning people who are supposes to help you, there are course you can do (Only about 1 per year)about preparing selection criteria. You speak to these people and put your application in, when your deemed not good enough for interview, you go and get feedback from the panel convenor, who tell you totally different things to the course or the career planning person told you. You repeat this 4-5 times, as each new position has a new panel convenor, who has their own opinion.
3 The interview.
Here the panle ask you series of questions based on the job and the area, ie. You attend doemstic, as shift supervisor, what do you do? So you have to explain all the legislation and prcedure etc. Each question is loosley based on each selction criteria. But you get ask these questions cold genarlly or rarely sown them 5 minutes before the interview.

The panel then modderate you, ei have a discussion about your answers etc. You then get told about the job you have applied for.
So far I have been beaten for the position by one person.

The smart reader will obviously see that if you know the boss on the panel, or related to the right person, or play golf etc, your (greatly assisted)application is always deemed satisfactory for shortlisting and you might recieve some hints on what to study for the questions beforehand, so if someone reviews the decision, they can say the successful apllicant answered the question the best, obviously they dont mention that they had the questions beforehand.

Smart readers obviously know, that I dont know anybody, dont play golf with the right people, and no one is leaving from my area, where I might get a bit of home team advantage.
After going and seeing a panel convenor and blowing up, no sleep and on nightwork, about the process, i managed to get shortlisted immediately afterwards, perhaps the secret is to go and blow up about the process, keeeping all the evidence of their 5 different suggestions to change words around, might work about the interview process.
PS Sorry if I stole you thunder about the coming application entry, but its Friday (here) and I have had drink or two.

05 June, 2009 11:39

Anonymous Mac said...

Hogday has it.

Sergeant is still a great role and you can still stay true to your principles. On your board, as well as the aforementioned rubbish you will still get a few operational police questions because they want to know that you are a 'safe pair of hands' who won't drop Senior Management in it - unless you're a high flyer and they know you won't be around long enough to do much damage. This is why it's such a good job - good ones get a lot of respect and credibility. The longer you are in the role, the more respect you get - provided you're any good.
Promotion to Inspector is another matter. You won't get a single question about police work - only management bu*****t. You can get through by lying on the board but once in, the number of decent operational jobs is limited so the demands to sell your soul to the devil are immense and failing to buy into the political b*****it makes you popular with your staff but not with your ambitous colleagues (who will remember you!!) and line managers in the endless meetings you will find yourself in.
Unless you are planning to be Chief Constable, stick at Sergeant. All the ranks above that are seen by the organisation as 'stepping stones' to ever higher rank. Anyone who stays too long in rank is considered a failure by those higher up, whereas being a long standing Sergeant is something to be proud of (I was) and is still well regarded.
I loved being a Sergeant (10 years) and value my current ones like family.
In any force, Sergeants have the greatest power to make or break the career of a current or future Chief Constable.

Good Luck.

05 June, 2009 12:49

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bloggsie, good luck! I had a similar dilema but like to think I manage the balance well. The only way to beat the party line people is to get promoted and show your a better officer and leader than they are. And leave them in their office jobs whilst your doing what a Sgt should be and going out on the ground. Love the book/blog by the way I recomend it to females who ask about joing as a true insight into what it is like for a female officer, try as I might you get to see things from a view I dont.

05 June, 2009 19:11

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to congratulate you on making Radio 4.

Nice one.

09 June, 2009 17:19

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can fully support the deletion of obscenity, libel or offensive comment. However, the deletion of my fair right to reply, constituting no more than the short explanatory response to Lawyer type above, is as difficult to justify as it is easy to equate to the police blog equivalent of taser abuse.

Was it not you, Ellie, professing to support and admire free expression and openness with the public?

If it be the case that fair and just comments embarrass a personal agenda sculpted for approval by Radio 4 producers, please qualify your version of openness with the public if it is something other than hypocrisy.

23 June, 2009 20:41


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