The Strategic Command Course Bramshill 2013- A Diverse Experience?

The SCC has commenced for a new batch of aspiring ACPO representatives and is now making itself felt in social media and twitter in particular. The SCC has been around for many years now and prides itself on being one of the most prestigious programmes in the police service. Participants are subjected to a rigourous Extended Interview and need to demonstrate all the best potential qualities in order to attend and be considered for the highest leadership roles in the police service in the future for both warranted and unwarranted staff.

Even though now Bramshill is in it’s dying throes, having been earmarked for sale by the current Home Secretary, (perhaps a pernicious act, you decide) who has made The National Policing Improvement Agency a limited company and rebranded it The College of Policing and then immediately offered it for sale to the highest bidder, the new Chief Constable incumbent has publicly declared the SCC sacrosanct and saved it from any future loss. Declaring that the new CoP will continue to provide covert surveillance training and the SCC and all other training will be devolved to Forces. It will of course be interesting to see how future generations of frontline officers will be trained in terms of standards, quality and uniformity across the national training piste of the service and of course what long term impact this will have on the standard of service delivery and ultimately the standard of ACPO leadership.

The first Equality legislation appeared in this country almost 40 years ago and was brought together by the Single Equality Act at the turn of the century. Its purpose has always been fundamentally to ensure fair play, a quality which we often hear from the political pundits and media as a quality intrinsic to the British people. McPherson however debunked this myth in his report as a result of the Lawrence enquiry and suggested that all is not so fair and equitable in British society as we may like to think. There are clear indicators of this lack of equal opportunites in the police service in terms of recruitment, retention and promotion.

Nowhere is this more pronounced than in the historical and current demography of the SCC.

As a result of my research the most senior leadership of the police service has not changed and will not change in the future for generations as long as the current selection procedures continue. Institutional Discrimination is alive and well and is demonstrated in the demography of the current crop of SCC participants.

It is also interesting to note that no matter who I asked via social media not one person was willing to reply to my questions on the demography of the course. Why I wonder?

Perhaps the facts speak for themselves.
There are 42 people on the current course.

There are no Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) officers.

There are only 11 women on the course. 

There are no female BME officers on the course.

This is a scandal of epic proportions given the length of time the police service has been trying to improve representation of people in the service (40 years) and still no visible change has occurred at the top.

(There has been one BME Chief Constable in the last 40 years, there has never been a female BME Chief Constable.)

If one visits twitter, all we hear are very jolly salutations and bonhomie amongst the partcipants, they all seem completely blind to the issue that around them are only like minded people discussing like minded things and so the endemic culture continues to perpetuate itself very nicely thank you and only people like us will be able to join this very exclusive club.

Who then is responsible for grasping the nettle and ensuring the change is both sustained and embedded to the point that the visible face of the service will change. Certainly ACPO, but most definitely the SCC Staff and participants should be campaigning in innovative initiatives to ensure that they do not see the same type of people year after year, which is certainly happening now. Should they not be asking themselves why this is happening and instead of shrugging shoulders do something about it. Otherwise the whole programme loses it’s credibility as a genuine and authentic vehicle of leadership within the service but most importantly with the public. The public may not know the intricacies of the SCC procedures but they can certainly see the result of the people who lead in Criminal Justice and safety in their communities.

Lastly, the cost of this extravaganza is 250,00 pounds, this is for Tutors and some travel but excludes the cost of salaries of people attending, their abstraction from their workplace, the cost of accommodation and lastly their travel. So one can see that this could run into millions of pounds.

Is this a good use of taxpayers money or could it be used better by overhauling the whole process ? Is this improving the quality of the police service and ultimately service delivery to the many diverse communities we serve and lastly are there clear and obvious equal opportunities for advancement to all people in the service ?

I hope this at least opens a debate as to why this is happening.