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 10, 2010

The Matrix

In every other job they are called Interviews. The police call them Boards.

The process of getting promoted took me two years.

I had to persuade my inspector to let me take the exam, which took a year.

I had to study and pass the exam: six months.

I had to fill out an application form covering more than five pages - a month.

Then there's "board prep", in other words more study, this time of vital policing matters such as the name of the Six Strands of Diversity and the acronyms denoting how to improve my own or someone else's performance. This filled another few months, and will never be used again in the course of my policing career.

The Board itself I can't tell you much about, because it's Secret. Not because there's anything untoward going on in there (I promise), but because apparently they use the same questions again and they don't want anyone to know them. In fact I am led to believe they use the same questions year after year, and everyone knows them anyway. But that doesn't mean that your carefully crafted answer will tick all the right boxes on the complex matrix in front of the board.

At the end of it all, a Fed Rep, an HR manager and a Superintendent decide your fate. Technically if you tick the correct parts of the matrix, you can't fail. In actual fact your overall appearance of competence will guide whether the board think you are suitable for promotion, and I can't help but think that guides whether or not they tick certain boxes. Which is, perhaps, how it should be.

Either way, I passed it.

And I didn't get a question regarding what I'd do if I found out a PC on my team was a secret internet blogger. Phew.

Update: Goodness me, thank you for all the unexpected support. My SMT didn't seem so thrilled. Which I suppose is why boards are held centrally in my force...

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


Anonymous Anonymous said...


BTW, lots of companies still call them boards if they are for internal promotion.

10 June, 2010 09:22

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Bloggs!

I've not started thinking about Stripes yet, but it's no doubt something I'll have to consider in the future.

Well done.

10 June, 2010 09:48

Anonymous DBRG said...

Congratulations Sgt Bloggsy. Only another nine more promotions boards to endure before you get The Big Job.

Maybe then you can explain to the Home Office that spending 170k on advertising PC jobs a whole month before they freeze recruitment (and ditch the 2000 hopefuls already in the system) isn't such a wizard wheeze.

Good on you, Sarge.


10 June, 2010 10:00

Anonymous the_leander said...

Congratulations Sgt Bloggs!

I guess that means the drinks are on you tonight then, eh?

10 June, 2010 10:13

Anonymous serpico said...

Congratulations :)

10 June, 2010 10:39

Anonymous A Polis Man said...

Congrats on the promotion Ellie, is there going to be a name change?

10 June, 2010 11:44

Anonymous Kendo said...

Well done


10 June, 2010 12:10

Anonymous Anonymous said...



Now what would you do if you found out a PC was a secret blogger? ;)

10 June, 2010 15:33

Anonymous weepeecee said...

Whenever I read or hear about the promotion process it makes me want to go back to bed and stay there until I retire.

10 June, 2010 15:41

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"a Fed Rep and an HR manager"

God help us all.

Two people in the police known not to be able to organise a piss up in a brewery.

Still, could be worse, you could be in Ruralshire where you would have a member of the public as well.

Well Done and don't let anyone tell you it's because they have targets for promoting women.

10 June, 2010 15:50

Blogger Metcountymounty said...

Congratulations Sarge!

10 June, 2010 16:07

Anonymous Mr Speedy said...

Well done.

Since when do you need an Inspector's permission to do the part 1 though? News to me.

10 June, 2010 17:24

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats Sarge.

10 June, 2010 17:36

Anonymous Anonymous said...

6 strands of diversity???? Pah!! Here in a certain force we now have 8!!! Welsh is apparantly now the 8th strand.

10 June, 2010 18:33

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on passing!! So what would you do if you had a secret blogger then????

10 June, 2010 18:58

Blogger TonyF said...


10 June, 2010 20:22

Blogger mark said...



10 June, 2010 20:34

Anonymous Mac said...


10 June, 2010 20:37

Blogger blueknight said...

Well done. If they are promoting Officers who are concerned enough to blog, there is hope.

10 June, 2010 20:40

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I decided if you cant beat them, join them and show up all the inept supervisors and look after your troops like they should be. Enjoy it and welcome to the club Sarge!

10 June, 2010 20:53

Anonymous Anonymous said...

congrats, from the little I know , you seem to fit the correct profile , only time will tell.

10 June, 2010 21:11

Blogger Stan Still said...

Nice one Sarge - welcome to the club!

I hope I don't get asked THAT question at my next promotion board - when they finally get round to doing them.

10 June, 2010 21:30

Blogger Busy said...

Well done. Way things are going this years may be last for a while. Enjoy your massive pay rise.

10 June, 2010 21:30

Anonymous Pete said...

So, six whole months to "learn" a few dozen pages?

Then you admit that you actually learned nothing at all but just ticked boxes, parrot-fashion

You dumb-ass *hypocritical*, dumb-ass

10 June, 2010 22:22

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats Ellie, be proud, sounds a rigourous process.

Good luck in the future too


10 June, 2010 22:23

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done Sarge!

10 June, 2010 22:43

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Sergeant, always nice to hear about a good copper getting their stripes.

10 June, 2010 22:59

Anonymous Anonymous said...


And I can guess you are not GMP where they have frozen ALL promotion :-(

11 June, 2010 00:49

Anonymous NottsSarge said...

Well done Sarge!
Time to start affecting the way Policing really works :o)

11 June, 2010 07:54

Blogger Kaela said...

Well Done.

11 June, 2010 08:49

Blogger Billy said...

Things might not have improved but they have changed.
Many years ago I was on a board and one of the members (Can't remember if he was Chief or Deputy at the time) asked "If one of your officers was suddenly coming to work unshaven and his work was not up to standard, what would you do?"
I replied "Take him to one side and find out what was wrong."
He replied "Bugger the psychology. What would you do?"

11 June, 2010 09:55

Anonymous Retired Sgt said...

Congratulations-now you are a fully qualified relationship counsellor financial advisor and font of all knowledge.
And dont forget you need to supervise upwards as well as downwards

11 June, 2010 11:43

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done. Think yourself lucky you are in a force that has reasonably regular boards. MIne doesnt and when it does it has two sets of the buggers (local then central)to get the vast numbers of qualified candidates down.

11 June, 2010 13:54

Blogger Mrs Dibble said...


11 June, 2010 16:48

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Following on from retired Sergeant - don't forget you have become the expert on all things including relationsip advice overnight!! (nothwithstanding you have been acting for a bit).

Mr. Speedy,

Cetain nuances of the promotion system would identify Ellies force, however it will be rolling out to all forces soon.

11 June, 2010 17:52

Blogger Dave the Dog said...

Congratulations Ellie. From what I've read over the years (and on Gadgets blog) not only well deserved but the right choice too! Good on you.

11 June, 2010 18:04

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations, but didn't you have to do the part 2 as well?
Our force still uses an ACC, Supernintendo and Inspector/Chief for the boards and it's a surreal and demanding process.
I recently passed mine but still waiting to be given the stripes, along with a number of others who passed, as there arent enough Sgt jobs for everyone who spent two, three or even more of their lives trying to get through the hoops

12 June, 2010 09:18

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Done, now, please explain WTF a HR Manager knows about policing (or anything, for that matter) and why you would make a suitable Sergeant???

15 June, 2010 01:55

Blogger Hogday said...

Welcome to what was the best rank in the organisation.

15 June, 2010 16:54

Anonymous Wig and Gown said...

Many congratulations.

I'm glad that the board is a rigourous process. I can count on one hand the number of Sgt's and Inspectors that I have met professionally who didn't seem up to the job.

Above and below in the rank structure and the number increases dramatically.

Without wishing to elude to the 'High Performance Scheme', there should be a way of identifying people like you who are plainly competent and able with a view to getting you through the board as early as possible, knowing that there is a wait to find a suitable vacancy.

22 June, 2010 10:50

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Sgt! Our boards still reuire teh provision of evidence of competence from a limited time period ptior to the boards - I have blown that by transferring forces and been told I can't go for promotion yet.Having been part 1&2 qualified for nearly ten years I really should get on with it..... *sigh*

still, maybe after the olympics, eh?

Officer and a lady

28 June, 2010 20:01


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