UK

Police Scotland criticised over leadership and diversity training

Police officers Image copyright Getty Images

Police Scotland has been strongly criticised for not providing leadership training since it was created in 2013.

As a result, the HM chief inspector of constabulary found that senior officers “lack emotional intelligence, self-awareness and strategic perspective”.

Gill Imery’s report also highlights a gap in the provision of diversity training.

Police Scotland said it was a “learning organisation” and was committed to staff improvement.

Seven years ago it replaced the old eight-force model and became the second largest force in the UK after the Met.

But since then, Mrs Imery found that many promoted staff who attended a first line managers’ course did not receive further dedicated leadership training or development.

Image caption HM chief inspector Gill Imery’s report also highlighted a lack of diversity training

Mrs Imery said: “An organisation of the size and scale of Police Scotland is expected to invest in its leaders.

“This is particularly important when the service is going through significant transformation and needs talented people to drive the change.”

She added: “The lack of a sustainable leadership programme since 2013 has consequences.

“Senior people in other agencies comment that while police leaders are very effective in command roles when responding to critical incidents, they lack emotional intelligence, self-awareness and strategic perspective.”

Mrs Imery also concluded that the absence of leadership courses had created a gap in the provision of regular diversity training to senior members of the organisation as part of their ongoing professional development.

And she recommended that diversity training become an integral part of leadership courses “as a matter of urgency”.

The thematic inspection of Police Scotland Training and Development also identified “scant opportunities for continuous professional development” and highlighted the fact there had not been a staff wellbeing survey since 2015.

The report is the product of inspection activity that took place in late 2019 up until March, when it was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor pledged to reflect on all observations made by its partners.

“What I see every day, are highly able and skilled leaders who inspire and enable our officers and staff to help the vulnerable and keep people safe,” she said.

The deputy chief constable said candidates performed strongly during the selection process for prospective chief officers across the UK, which assessed competencies such as emotional awareness, collaboration and critical analysis.

She added: “Within Police Scotland, a new process to support continuous development and promotion based on the behaviours, values, operational knowledge and leadership required of officers and staff has been established.

“The wellbeing of our officers and staff is and remains a priority and we have a wide range of support mechanisms in place.”

The force was due to carry out an engagement and wellbeing survey this year but it has been delayed as a result of Covid-19.

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