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Listening to the Canaries

A few weeks ago, I wrote what I consider to be one of the most important and heartfelt blogs (not relating to mental health) that I have written. It was an open address to the College of Policing. I was contacted by the College straight afterwards and they expressed their wish to respond to the blog. They have every right to reply and I am pleased to say that they have. In detail. Not only that but the author is none other than the interim CEO Rachel Tuffin.

This is a long reply but  I have chosen to publish it in full rather than break it up over a few blogs.

I am grateful to Rachel for this detailed response, for her time and consideration, and I publish it for you – in full – below.

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Canary in the Mine

I would like to talk to you about the College of Policing.  But part of the reason I want to do this is FOR the College of Policing. Please stick with me because the initial part of this blog could be construed as “negative.” It isn’t meant to be, but I feel the points made are necessary as they illustrate the issues that are coming up more and more in the relationship between the college and the people it has been established for. The cops and the staff. The second part, I hope, leads to the suggestion of something more positive.

At the end of the day The College of Policing is here to stay and so we need to make things work a lot better than they currently are.The relationship between officers and the College is strained. There is a perception that the College is not working in the way that officers might want. This is critical. This is about an organisation ESTABLISHED for officers – about supporting THEIR development, improving fairness and ensuring a more consistent approach, through more effective training. About increasing the evidence base. But – there seems to be a problem….

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The Eagle Has Landed



On Thursday 24th August 2017, the policy think tank Reform published their report on their view of the digital future of policing.  It runs to 46 pages (not including bibliography) and makes 10 recommendations which it claims are “the only way to police in an ever changing world.”

When it was published it attracted a LOT of comment. In this blog – Emma Williams (Deputy Director of Canterbury Christ Church University Police Research Centre) and I take a detailed look at the report and…… raise a few issues. 

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Babel Fish 

Sat outside a Canterbury cafe in the sunshine allows me the opportunity to reflect on the speakers and conversations from the last few days at Canterbury Christchurch Uni’s conference on Evidence Based Policing.

I would like to thank Emma, Jenny, Steve and team at CCCU for organising another amazing event.

I greatly enjoyed the event and the opportunity to speak. I’m not a huge fan of conferences as I often think it’s the same people talking to the same people about the same things. There is a danger of it all becoming very echo-chamber so I was pleased to be invited and have the chance to lob a grenade into proceedings.

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“Look for the Helpers”

The last few months have seen some truly awful events in the United Kingdom. The first incident was the Westminster attack. This was followed by the appalling scenes in Manchester and before anyone had chance to reflect too much on that, London was attacked again at London Bridge and Borough Market.

This morning we have seen terrifying images from the Grenfell Tower fire. Truly the stuff of nightmares.

The country is no doubt feeling traumatised and there are many many questions to be asked and answered. The feeling of turmoil will not be helped by the state of UK politics but it is not my place to comment on any of that.

What I am going to comment on are the two things which have been evident in all of these dreadful tragedies.

Bravery and kindness.

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