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BTP put out banter survey to shape workplace behaviour workshops

British Transport Police is holding a 'banter survey' to better inform their training on appropriate behaviour in the workplace.
Published - 07/01/2021 By - Chloe Livadeas

BTP's Ethical Dilemmas workshop was rolled out to all officers and staff last year, and aims to educate officers about what is appropriate behaviour and speech and what isn't. 

Trainers for the workshop, which discusses professional standards within the workplace, felt the material they were working from  - which relied on an external survey on banter - wasn’t particularly relevant to policing.

To keep the discussions relevant to their working environment, a short survey on banter was developed to gauge the views of officers and staff and get a better understanding of the bespoke policing aspect.

Nigel Goodband, chair of the BTP Federation said: “While the dictionary defines banter as 'the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks' it's a word that means different things to different people. Your interpretation is likely to depend on whether you're giving or receiving it.”

He said officers often use banter as a coping mechanism for the trauma BTP officers in particular deal with on a regular basis, such as fatalities on the railways, which he says is a good thing if it helps. 

But he also said it should not be ''inappropriate" and go as far as to insult.

"BTP don't want to stop everybody having a point of view, but it shouldn't be targeted at individuals or groups, or particular minority groups," Mr Goodband said. "It should be balanced, and it should be within your private conversation. You've obviously got to understand where the boundaries are and you've got to understand your audience."

He said it was about recognising that some views and opinions shouldn't be aired in public or said whilst you're wearing a uniform when dealing with members of the community, and reaching this underanding through open discussion.

“Diversity, equality inclusion – officers have said ‘I feel uncomfortable with it, I don't like to talk about it because I don't want to offend people, or I don't want to be judged as offending people because I might say something I shouldn't’. And that's what this hopefully is educating officers about.”

Mr Goodband also said it was important for officers to know they can and have the confidence to challenge the comments of colleagues.

“It's about just making sure there isn't little groups of people whispering in corners, we should all be working together being inclusive and being supportive of each other. Rather than having canteen culture sitting in various corners in their own little groups.”

He said there was more of an acceptance to this type of training these days as officers have a better understanding of how it works and what it aims to do.

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