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Commanding Proposals
29 Apr 2010

The National College of Police Leadership held its first Strategic Command Course graduation last month when police officers from Canada, Ireland and France joined officers and staff from UK police forces, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and HM Revenue and Customs on the ten-week course that prepares them for command roles.

The Strategic Command Course has continued to develop to lead latest law enforcement practices and includes some formidable firsts; real time data from police forces was used to study the implications of the financial cutbacks expected after the general election, participants took part in an international exercise written by SOCA and participants were tasked by Sir Hugh Orde, the President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), with providing solutions to major issues currently facing the service.

The outcomes provide interesting reading, with some radical solutions being offered.
Over the following pages, participants provide their views on issues of accountability, financial austerity and ethics. They worked individually before and in syndicates during the course to research the questions asked of them. The exercise is named after Antoni Gaudi, who created complex organic architectural structures that were said ‘never to be finished’, recognising that policing development is complex and continuous.

Next week, we will feature three more syndicates’ work covering the future role for ACPO, maintaining legitimacy and managing risk.

There are more radical proposals contained in those articles that will be essential reading for anyone with a strategic view on policing.


The development of the Strategic Command Course (SCC) has played a significant part in a journey to raise the professional status of leadership training in the police. This includes the establishment of the National College of Police Leadership at Bramshill.

The SCC is the premier course among its programmes to develop senior leaders, courses for inspectors and sergeants, and training new entrants.

The National College of Police Leadership is not just a centre for police leadership, but also the centre for the development of police thinking, of an evidence-based approach and the link with the academic world. This year’s SCC provided a fantastic opportunity for the brightest new leaders to engage with the service, to look at the big issues it faces and to find solutions that will at least inform the national debate if not to instruct it.

The participants have addressed questions of major concern posed by Sir Hugh Orde, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ President, admirably. In this edition of Police Professional, three of their papers are reproduced and three more will feature next week.

The personal journey all participants have embarked upon must not be under-estimated. The bad news for them is this is only one stage on a much longer journey – just another milestone – with huge challenges awaiting them in their future roles.

There will be times that test their resolve and make them question why they chose to put themselves through this process. I know only too well the feeling that comes from waiting to be interviewed by national television following a crisis (or crises) and it is easy to ask ‘why I am doing this?’ I could have stayed as a chief superintendent in charge of a BCU and, actually, it was quite fun being a shift inspector in Coventry all those years ago.

The participants on this year’s course choose to put themselves through this process not for the money, glory, influence or a better work/life balance. If that was the case, they would do something different. They are simply not the sort of people who can sit around and accept the status quo. They are people who want to make a difference. They have that passion to make this vital public service better and give strong leadership to our amazing workforce.

The Strategic Command Course has tested their values, it has set challenges against a backdrop of ethical decision-making and has allowed time for reflection, to share experiences with colleagues and, crucially, to learn about themselves.

When those testing times come along, they will cope by being true to themselves, drawing on their core inner strengths and applying their values.

Participants are now entering into roles where they will need to deliver that - to make it stick - amid the challenges of the routine that surrounds them.

The next few years will provide considerable upheaval and what is clear is professional expertise across the service and a strong foundation of ethics and values will be crucial to protect those they serve and to give the best leadership to our amazing workforce.

I am pleased that participants on the 2010 course recognise their duty as leaders to constantly feed back their knowledge, experience and skills into the next generation and will return to be syndicate directors on the commanders’ programme; the duty of a leader is not to produce more followers, it is to produce more leaders.

I am really positive about the future of policing as I see people like the participants on this year’s SCC coming through. I have every confidence the service will be in good hands in years to come.

Peter Fahy
Chief Constable
Greater Manchester Police

Click on the following links for the Gaud articles on accountability, austerity and policing ethics:


Click on the following link for interviews with some of the participants in the 2010 Strategic Command Course:


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