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Policing Is Not A Chumocracy

Last updated on October 16th, 2023 at 07:33 pm

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Apologies for yet one more post this week, but a simple post on Twitter this morning has potentially revealed something unsavoury and unwelcome.

It started with this, a heartfelt post from a retired Met Detective Inspector. I endorsed it without hesitation as I could instantly relate to it.

Policing Is Not A Chumocracy

Even before I retired (almost 20 years ago) a culture was creeping into the Met that, in my opinion, was entirely undesirable.

Officers were being promoted even when their immediate peers honestly believed that they were unsuitable, and senior officers were assembling teams ‘around’ that simply consisted of people they had worked with previously, and presumably felt comfortable with, but were totally untested as to whether they were the best tor the job or not.

As long ago as the late 80s Constables were calling Sergeants by their first name, even in company of others (in the Met, can’t comment on other Forces). My own personal opinion is that this is wrong and ill-disciplined, it was the thin end of the wedge, the beginning of the downturn in standards. It is something I never did except, as a senior Constable, with a Sergeant who I was incredibly familiar with, and in private. Never in the company of other Constables, probably with less service.

One of the problems of not promoting solely the best candidates (and here I mean Chief Inspector and above) is that the cream goes off instead of rising to the top. Nobody, and no rank, has the monopoly on good ideas or best practice, but when the people who have those ideas are continually passed over for promotion, or have their ideas ignored (or hijacked by others) then they tend to simply give up, which is detrimental to both themselves and the organisation.

Some lower ranking officers don’t want promotion. I myself was a Career Constable who never once troubled the promotion process, I got immense Job Satisfaction from working on the Front Line and doing ‘Police Work’ of one kind or another. Becoming a policy maker was not my prime motivation in life.

Now, all those years later, the upper echelons of Policing are occupied by ‘Yes Men’ if you’ll forgive the expression. When May and Cameron were taking a chainsaw to Policing, who amongst ACPO or NPCC spoke out against it.

Numerous people like me, serving or retired, predicted quite accurately what the results of the cuts would be, but the Chumocracy at the very top remained silent.

Whether that was because they didn’t know any better and didn’t believe what they were being told, or they were all in it together and were merely protecting their positions and pensions, or were being actively threatened by those in government I will never know, but ignore all the predictions they did.

Now, comments and reactions to my Tweet this morning would have me believe that the problem of Chumocracy is not restricted to the Met, but is evident in just about every Force in the land, together with the NHS, Education, Civil Service and just about every other Public Sector organisation, and possibly private business as well.

Is this what we have come to? Is it totally unreasonable to expect those at the top to be amongst the best available? Can we get decent, well thought out policies and decisions from groups of people who are friends first? PPE and COVID testing spring to mind.

As for me, I’m old school and don’t believe that Chumocracy has any place, anywhere. What good has ever come out of a system such as that?

I will leave you in peace now I’ve got that off my chest, enjoy your weekend.

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  1. hugh hunter

    There is a lot of sense in this comment that will not be understood by people who have missed several lavers of the learning and maturing prosses that come from experience. The ‘Academic’ loading into police management of bright but unwise personnel has distorted and fettered police work with bureaucratic management demands. ACPO is now, along with the many ‘minority demand’ groups almost anti-police. The familiarity point is relevant and well made. The military command structure is clear about what works. Recruitment and training must be returned to those who are experienced and know what is required, not those who have theories about quotas and agendas etc. We are going through gender re-evaluation arguments and Sport is producing clear statements about strength, speed and other factors that are critical in the use of force. When ‘getting a grip’ is restricted by the access points to a fighting criminal, three big officers can do the job without Tazer or Gas. If you have a ‘tough nut’ you still need a big spanner. The old boys earned a great reputation for their hard work, experience and cunning. All that is now being rubbished by the politically correct media commentators who have no understanding about handling stress and grief and rubish the use of humour. It appals me that the screams of delight encouraging vicious fighting between Cage fighters turn to hostile rage against a police officer for one punch to defend himself.

    • RetiredAndAngry

      Thank you, appreciated

  2. Rob Parker

    Like you being unable to disagree with a word in the original Tweet which started this blog off, I can’t and don’t disagree with a word you have written. The slippery slope to poor discipline did creep in in the 80’s with the calling of Sergeants by their first names followed not long after by the questioning of lawful orders by young PC’s. They’d genuinely never been told what to do previously.

    Chumocracy does indeed exist in forces outside the Met and, as you describe, in every other large organisation throughout the UK. It’s the left wing freemasonary called Common Purpose. You scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. As long as we all stick together and sing off the same flawed songsheet, we are untouchable. Jobs are protected and if you screw up you can just take the revolving door into another highly paid job which you don’t necessarily know much about but you don’t look bad because those around you don’t know much either.

    Unless this mould is broken, and it will take someone brave to do it, this lack of direction and leadership will continue. Officers will become disillusioned, experienced officers will leave and the police service will remain out of reach for the majority of the public.

    • RetiredAndAngry

      That might make some sense, Cressida is a graduate of Common Purpose, although all this started before her time

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