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Humberside Police

As one of the UK’s blue light services, police forces are on operations 365 days per year, often in high tempo, high intensity settings that are in the full glare of public scrutiny. Police officers must know the law intimately and be able to deal with complex and ambiguous scenarios with the public, whom them serve and protect. Policing demands leaders to be visible and accessible, socially and politically astute, and able to ‘run the business’ in an environment that demands ‘more from less’. It’s a demanding context for leadership which has traditionally employed command and control as a ‘go to’ style. While this remains entirely relevant for the handling of fast-moving situations there is a complementary need for a nuanced, emotionally intelligent and relational approach.

As part of a strategic initiative to become a sustainably high performing organisation, Humberside Police commissioned an engagement and organisation analysis process to clarify, articulate and codify a vision of ‘the ideal Humberside Police leader’. 

The process explored the views of a range of key stakeholders; interviews with all executive leaders and workshops with police officers and staff, at all levels of seniority, which explored the current reality and co-created a vision for the future. The safe environment cultivated in the sessions meant staff spoke freely and with great passion about their ambition for the future of the force. 

Qualitative and quantitative analysis methods were used to identify core themes. The data highlighted an organisation ready to embrace a new leadership culture. This was centred on high-performance, clarity of direction, visibility of leaders, powerful and emotionally intelligent human-human relationships, effective use of leadership styles and power, challenging of under-performance and refinements to processes such as performance management and promotion. A parallel strand of work created a framework that underpinned the People Plan and brought to life the organisation’s values through tangible descriptions of effective behaviours.

Specific recommendations for the organisation’s development were made, incorporated into the people development strategy and implemented as a bespoke suite of leadership programmes to be delivered in-house, tailored to leaders at all levels in the force. These were focussed on developing a leadership practice that will mean Humberside Police can sustain their 2022 outstanding rating, their position as the best force in England and Wales and become a great place to work, which delivers on its mission to serve its communities and make them safer and stronger.

We engaged Andy Harmer Consulting in the construction of our force leadership and development offer. Andy provides a wonderful blend of experience from business, military and academia, and was easy to work with. The style with our people was relaxed, engaging and conversational, helping us to define the leadership traits in our staff we wanted to develop in the fast pace of modern 21st century policing.

Paul Anderson | Chief Constable, Humberside Police

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