The Promotion Game: Promotion Just Got Tougher

policeranks-2Now I’m not saying it’s ever been a walk in the park but the promotion process within the Police Service just got tougher.

Editor’s note: this text was originally published by Police Blogs, an anonymous account posting eye-opening essays backed by first-hand knowledge on the current state of Policing in the United Kingdom.

There a number of reasons for this. The first is that the Government have changed the Police pension scheme to a career average based scheme as opposed to final salary scheme meaning officers will have a better pension the sooner they get promoted. The second is that the Government have made deep cuts to the Police Service which has affected PC’s the most; they have higher workloads, less back up and have these extra woes for the same money (or less money if we compare the rate of inflation to recent annual pay rises). Lastly, officers no longer have to take part in the second role play based exam (OSPRE Part 2) anymore before they can apply for promotion; as soon as they pass the first legal based exam they are eligible to submit an application form and go for an interview board.

In my force area for this year’s Sergeant’s Promotion process there are about 10 officers going for every 1 post. It’s safe to say that unless you have been fortunate to get a stint of Temporary duties at the next rank prior to going for Substantive promotion you won’t get a look in. Rewind only 6 years and as soon as you passed the two exams you could walk straight into a job without even submitting an application form and having an interview board!

What effect is this having? Better people are getting promoted.

In years gone by a few not so good candidates slipped through the net and the organisations that allowed this to happen have had and still have years of dealing with the consequences. A poor Sergeant can affect team performance and morale badly.

Nowadays if you want the next rank you can’t just coast along and submit an application form for promotion when they advertise. A conscious decision is required by the officer to choose promotion as a goal and from that moment on prior to applying there is an expectation on them to volunteer for extra work such as project work, planning operations, training Special Constables or Police cadets etc in order to get suitable evidence to support your application.

From an organisational perspective the new promotion system is great because with more applicants they can afford to be more selective with candidates. From a candidates perspective it can be a long tough journey that can easily end in disappointment.

Only today I had a conversation with a Temporary Sergeant who has been playing the promotion game for three years having failed the paper sift stage last time. He is in the process of writing his application form for a second time and is using some great examples and evidence that he has obtained from his hard work over the last three years.I could tell that he was tired with the promotion game and it was taking its toll on him. He is not the only person I have met whose well being appeared to be affected by playing the promotion game but they know it’s what they need to do to set themselves apart from the other candidates. He explained to me that if he was unsuccessful this time that he could not waste anymore time at this stage in his life with the Police Service and would be seriously considering leaving the job. He fully deserves promotion but with the law of averages there is every chance he may be unsuccessful again.

It was when he told me this that the adverse effect of an over competitive promotion process dawned on me. There is the danger that we would be losing an experienced hard working reliable PC because the organisation could not facilitate him at the next rank; this would be a terrible shame.

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