Police Leadership Crime in Britain Term Paper

  • Length: 11 pages
  • Sources: 5
  • Subject: Leadership
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #96027454

Excerpt from Term Paper :

The events occurred within a month in the UK and reported even by international media. A radical re-examination of the conduct of UK's leaders needs to be done for the future of its population (Cockindale).

More or less of the same disaster occurs within the service itself. A study found that four out of five police officers who resign do so because of poor management ((BBC News 2008). Despite record-high recruitment earlier in the year, a number of officers were leaving the service. The common reason was the lack of fairness and effectiveness on the part of management. The Home Office, for its part, said that it had been working to improve police leadership skills. It also noted that the police service had lower levels of resignations and transfer than other members of the public sector (BBC News).

The study also said that many of those who resigned were ethnic minority officers (BBC News 2008). It aimed at enhancing police retention levels and investigated 10 police officers in England and Wales. The respondents felt that they were undervalued, isolated and lacked support from their leaders. The rest said that their position was threatened by management and its policy initiatives. Black and Asian policemen and women were more inclined to resign than their white counterparts. They described their resignations as "disproportionate." Bullying and discrimination appeared to be at the bottom of their resignations (BBC News).

In response to this trend, Home Office minister Hazel Blears said that her office has been taking steps to improve leadership as a major part of current police reform program (BBC News 2008). According to her, the program aims at motivating and engaging the police staff to respond to the significant challenges in the performance of staff duties. She noted the findings of the Police Leadership study that leaders who were "committed and professional," who would correct poor behavior and appreciate the staff could produce positive employee attitudes at work. She stressed the positive leadership could likewise retain the staff and lead it to gain the necessary skills for promotion. All in all, the staff can feel valued through positive leadership. She said that new programs have been developed and enforced to "increase leadership capacity" as well as decrease unnecessary burden on police officers (BBC News).

Likewise in response to the heavy resignation of ethnic police officers, the force fixed its number of recruits to 25.9% by 2009 (BBC News 2008). The Home Office noted that officers from ethnic minorities in 2002 to 2003 comprised only 9.8% of police forces. Police managers were also prompted to be more open and communicative and to develop leadership skills in order to curb massive resignations. Early in the year, the Home Office announced that number of officers in England and Wales had reached a high 138,155 or an increase of 14,000 in 3 1/2 years (BBC News).

Post-war researchers believed that democratic leadership was more effective in that democratic leaders exhibited both considerateness and concern for productivity (Department of Criminology 2006). Its supporters contended that this type of leadership worked for three main reasons. Its social style made employees achieve and, at the same time, met their needs for inclusion, sense of belonging and support. Participation in decision-making produced greater commitment to their task. And group discussions opened communication lines, which fostered cohesiveness and cooperation among the employees (Department of Criminology).

Another style of leadership, organizational development, imbued more than the electrifying and motivating personality of the leader (Department of Criminology 2006). Its aim was to achieve high productivity and excellent quality of working life. Social thinkers of the time differentiated managers from leaders. Managers made things happen. They identified and stated expectations, made the achievement of goals possible; provided the necessary resources, support and feedback, monitor the progress of work and rewarded good performance. Leaders, on the other hand, were more focused on innovation and change. Leadership involved all organizational levels. It meant developing visions, translating these visions into achievable tasks, informing others about these tasks in a way that enticed and elicited their commitment to these tasks, establishing an environment fit for problem-solving and learning, and insuring that everyone involved stayed on until the tasks were achieved. Lastly, leaders knew how to deal with the "shadow side" of the organization. This "shadow side" included managing the organizational culture, the politics within, the distribution of power, individual differences and social groupings (Department of Criminology).

The concept of the "shadow side" of an organization was derived from Freud's theory on the unconscious mind and its ego defense mechanisms (Department of Criminology 2006). An illustration was the incompetence or ineptitude of some military leaders who possessed an "authoritarian personality." This personality subjected authoritarian leaders to unconscious fears and repressed memories, which drove them to be obsessive. They compensated for their anxieties about personal inadequacies to prove their competence and self-worth. This "depth psychology": contains or reveals unflattering details about these leaders' personality inadequacies and distortions. Other psychologists noted how many or all of these leaders tended to carry much emotional baggage into their functions, which inclined them to become controlling or manipulative. This was at the bottom of "authoritarian social structures" and malfunctioning organizational workings (Department of Criminology).

Recent studies on experiences of occupational psychology enumerated the characteristics managers wanted their leaders to possess and exude (Department of Criminology 2006). The main finding was that 77% of the managers interviewed were not impressed with their leaders but had an idea of what good leadership should be made of. Only 11% of them expressed satisfaction over their leaders. The majority urged for a "relational" type of leadership, which would shape and pursue organizational goals and motivate others to develop their potentials and achieve these goals. Transformational leadership is one where leaders are "visionaries," who are reform-oriented, innovators or even "heroes." They can tap into these goals or create them as well as the motives and values of followers in order to make them act in a way their leaders want them to. Under this leadership style, a mutually beneficial relationship forms. The leader and his followers are brought together. This highlights the differences between the older traditional "transactional" leadership styles and the newer charismatic or visionary transformational styles. The nature of bargaining in the older models exchanged "favor for favor." The new models, on the other hand, connected and united the employees with their leader. A model of transformational leadership was developed for effective leadership in the British Isles. Researchers noted the strong link between a leader possessing these traits and positive work attitudes in his followers. Furthermore, a transformational leader inspires them to satisfy higher-level needs, such as self-esteem and self-actualization (Department of Criminology).

Police leadership in the UK can be categorized into the civilian tutorial staff at Centrex, competence frameworks, and current standard of effective police leadership and its components (Department of Criminology 2006). Qualitative inquiries into police leadership bared it as overly prescriptive, too traditional, expedient, pragmatic and very much influenced by the ways of an insular police culture. The study yielded recurring failures in communication and organizational ethical standards. These were characterized by secretive scheming and a tendency towards manipulation. It concluded that police leadership should do better than imitate that of the armed forces or of businesses. It had to develop practices from genuine professionalism and from genuine police-related research. Demands for change in the service led to the abandonment of educational models, which supported police leadership development. New ideas of "competence" shaped a "training" ideology and new claims to "professionalism." Research conducted by the interview staff led to the creation of a model of competencies for police leaders. The eight competencies became the basis for the selection and evaluation of police officers. Eleven police competencies were selected and grouped into four categories. These were "professional and ethical standards, "managing and developing people," "strategic awareness," and "creativity and innovation." The Home Office soon announced that these behavioral competencies found in the national competency framework had replaced earlier criteria and initiatives. All forces needed to incorporate this framework into their personnel systems. It is most essential in selection and promotion, development and performance management and workforce planning. It states that the framework was to apply to all ranks and civil or support staff levels throughout the organization. The competencies were merged under the headings of "leadership," "working with others," and "achieving results." Behaviors relating to "strategic perspective," "openness to change," "negotiating and influencing," and maximizing potential" were incorporated into the leadership category (Department of Criminology).

A group of more than 150 senior police officers in the highest ranks was interviewed (Department of Criminology 2006). The research found that there were a few excellent and some good leaders in the service, but the desired traits of leadership were sorely lacking in them. The Home Office's published research on the styles of leadership most valued by police officers themselves revealed that most of the qualities valued were consistent with those under the transformational leadership.…

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