'Trust' is key to future of policing

Chief Constable

Merseyside Police Chief Constable, Andy Cooke QPM, cited enhancing trust within his own staff and the community as being one of his key priorities in leading Merseyside Police, as part of LJMU’s Chief Constable Annual Lecture Series.

The lecture, entitled ‘Lions led by donkeys?’, was the fourth in the lecture series, and saw the Chief Constable give a personal perspective on the reality of police leadership, the historic challenges the force has faced over the years and how he plans to tackle them, for the benefit of his staff and the public.

Addressing an audience of students, staff and police officers in LJMU’s Redmonds Building, the Chief Constable set out his approach to enhancing a culture of trust both within the force and outside of it, that will improve policing and enable his staff to carry out public service with the confidence to innovate and make even more independent decisions, in a supportive environment.

Constable Cooke said: “The starting point to changing culture has got to be ‘I trust you.’ There is significant academic research of the benefits of high trust organisations bringing tangible benefits.” He added: “I cannot just talk about it, I need to demonstrate it…I want my staff to consider and innovate and not just follow guidelines.”

Citing ‘moving policing forward, daring to be different and implementing value-driven policing in an austere and difficult environment’ as a key approach to effective senior leadership, he concluded: “If we want to see British policing continue to improve, it needs to be in a supportive environment where discretion and individual decision making is supported, with a starting point that police leaders and staff are trusted to keep our communities safe and where all the relevant authority work together to improve confidence.”

The lecture is organised by the Liverpool Centre for Advanced Policing Studies, part of LJMU, which aims to counteract modern day criminal activity by combining innovative research methods with traditional means of policing. LJMU academics work closely with police forces, including Merseyside Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside, to deal with issues such as human trafficking, terrorism, child exploitation, hate crimes and cybercrime. The Centre houses the latest research and policing related technology including geographic information systems, forensic computing, forensic science and forensic psychology.

Prior to delivering the lecture the Chief Constable set out his thoughts on his address: “This will be the first lecture I have delivered at LJMU, and I am pleased to be continuing this tradition. In this year’s annual lecture I will be outlining how policing is a complex leadership environment which operates in a hostile political and media arena. The public have a right to expect that police leaders are able to keep communities safe and deliver a value-led and ethical service, while also spending public money wisely. During the lecture I will discuss how a police leader delivers a service that is responsive to their communities when complex governance and inspection regime can at times offer a perverse incentive to focus on targets – and not the threats, harm and risks that face citizens.”


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