Read Sergeant Simon

July 18, 2009

In support of our friends Area Search, Inspector Levy, Confused Constable, Sgt Simon, Stressed out cop, etc. we just wanted to say we are about but have been rather busy. Hence the lack of posts.

Interesting post by Sergeant Simon though about interviews  and competencies, and yes he’s right, if you say the buzz word ACPO malarkey statement word for word at interview you get through, and this has no bearing on how good or indeed, bad, you are. Indeed the assessors think you think like them; which isn’t the case incidentally.

But these competencies, as devised by some HR walas and Home Office suits, just go to show that you can write as many policies as you want, but policies might just exclude good people like Sgt Simon. (Makes HR look good though because they can have something to do at work.)

HR is good to an extent, don’t really know what extent, but rarely do they know how to treat people well.  And civilianisation, unless its controlled, will ruin British policing. Whoops, perhaps it already has. We guess what we are saying is that HR needs to be proportionate and balanced, it doesn’t rule policing, it should let police officers police. But we believe Chiefs have gone sideways in management speak. Damn.

For one you have to ask civilians to do something, then they argue with you; however with police officers, they might not agree, but they will damn well get the job done without putting silly arguments in your face. Anyway read Sergeant Simon, he’s back.



  1. When I joined, the Asst. or Dept Chief Constable did the interview. It was one to one. Even if Personnel or HR existed then, they did not get a look in.

    That was in the days when ACPO rank were real Police Officers.

    I remember when the family of an arrested person wrote a letter of complaint because we had folowed him upstairs when he went to get his jacket.

    The DCC wrote back with words to the effect of, ‘Police have a power of entry, you’re lucky they didn’t kick the door down’ and that was the end of that complaint.

    He would not have stood for this targets rubbish and it is a matter of fact that at least one CC was in a state of open conflict with his left wing Police authority.

  2. It is the same in my day job. Everything is based on competencies.

    That means for instance, ‘organised the christmas lunch for xx number of people.’

    Therefore, that person hits one of the ‘competencies’.

    He or she could be absolute crap at what they are really paid to do.

  3. I fully identify with the frustration caused by HR and selection procedures. I can’t comment on other forces, but in mine I’ve seen (and suffered) from both sides – selecting and being selected.

    For the sake of the small comfort it offers people like Sgt Simon, the panels I have sat on are never just looking for a buzz phrase, and do look to interpret candidates’ answers favourably.

    However, we are often just as bemused by the absurdidty of some procedures and the resulting unintended consequences as anyone else.

    The most helpful advice I’ve ever been given is to see these things for what they are: just a crude means of selecting people. They are not a judgement on you as an individual, even though that’s exactly what it feels like!

  4. HR is a nemesis, a juggernaut of political rubbish.

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