Dead mens shoes stopping talented young police officers getting top jobs says

A culture of “dead men’s shoes” where talented young police officers are overlooked for chief constable jobs in favour of “time serving”  deputies is damaging the fight against crime, says HM InspectorateAn investigation by HMI found some 62 per cent of chief constable’s jobs now go to the internal “favoured” deputy who “got on” with their departing boss and their Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).Women are also being squeezed out of the top jobs by a perceived “old boys’ club” where chief constables and PCC choose their favoured candidate, sometimes from a shortlist of one. In the past five years, the number of women chief constables has halved from nine to four including Cressida Dick, the met Commissioner, while there are no black or ethnic chiefs. In 2018, 27 of the 42 chief constables outside London were found to have been a deputy in their own forces.Many of the deputies appointed to the top jobs have spent their career in just one force, which could limit their horizons and demonstrate the leadership needed to fight crime effectively, said Matt Parr, the HMI inspector who led the investigation.He  said the weakest performing forces in combating crime often had poor leadership. “If you get it wrong, then it is bound to have a negative effect on the quality of service that the public are going to get,” he said. Mr Parr said: “In some forces, it’s who you know. It’s dead men’s and women’s shoes based on seniority. You wait for your turn, get it, it’s not really based on talent or ability. Falling out with the chief constable will not do your prospects any good.”He said there was a perception of a “old boys’ club” against women, who were being denied chief constable jobs even though their presence in the senior jobs below chief matched their overall proportions throughout the police.Mr Parr also described the chaotic attempts by chief constables to poach the best officers via “a form of speed dating” when they completed commander training with the College of Policing.”The college allows time for informal networking and for chief constables to sell their forces. This is not in itself problematic but we were told that at a time when there were limited number of candidates – the arrangements amounted to a desperate form of speed dating,” said his report. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “The subsequent arrangements by which officers apply for posts were described to us by one chief constable as ‘chaos.’ His views were echoed in different terms by many others.”Mr Parr added: “I meet a lot of impressive police officers who knock the socks off me with potential and talent. I remain to be convinced that the best most talented officers get the top jobs.”The report added that policing looked “uncomfortably parochial” at the top, and “localism in the selection of chief officers has in some instances turned into a deeply unhealthy parochialism that is not in the public interest.”The report recommended the Home Office reinstate a rule barring a deputy from becoming a chief constable unless they had spent at least two years in another force or organisation at a senior level. Temporary promotions should also be limited to no more than a year. He said some senior officers had been been “over-promoted” and made some “questionable” operational decisions as well as not faring well over force politics or in the press.A survey of senior officers below chief found almost a third (29 per cent) felt there was “bias in selection” and that this made them reluctant to bid for promotion as it was likely to be a “done deal.” “The most common factors included how well each potential candidate got on with their chief officers.”

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