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Ex-College CEO joins justice sector training body

The former head of the College of Policing is joining the justice sector?s training body.
Published - 27/04/2021 By - Chris Smith

Mike Cunningham is joining Skills for Justice, a not-for-profit training and workforce organisation that works across the justice and local government sectors.

Mr Cunningham stood down at the end of last year as Chief Executive of the College of Policing rounding off a career of more than 30 years in policing.

His replacement has yet to be confirmed by the College.

He has taken up a role as an associate and will focus on workforce development and recruitment in policing.

While head of the College, Mr Cunningham pushed for forces to get better at organisational development. In his final interview before signing off, he told Police Oracle that although some chiefs ‘get it’ others don’t.

He warned that developing skills and enabling senior officers to adapt to changing demands is critical for forces that are facing not only new policing challenges but rising demand from the Uplift intake that expect online learning and career development opportunities.

He also warned that forces must do more horizon scanning to prepare for future demands that could be generated by climate change, technology advances and more.

Mr Cunningham said this would be part of his new role: “Organisations have to develop, move on, and improve, and you do that by developing people.

"But also, you do it by thinking about the way the organisation works: how it functions, how decisions are made, how it interconnects with other organisations, and how it's enabled through technology, which is vital to ensuring that organisations remain fleet of foot.”

He added: “They have to be, as the world is very, very fast moving. Crucially, none of this can really be done without a clearer understanding of what the future holds.”

Mr Cunningham said it was critical that forces quickly move to enable the Uplift generation – or risk losing them to other careers.

“We must make sure that new recruits, as well as those who have been in policing for some time, remain current, if we are to stay ahead of those who seek to subvert the law, fully protect people, and ultimately bring people to justice.

“Because one thing we know for sure is there will always be people finding new ways of using technology and new ways of approaching vulnerability and victims,” he said.

Skills for Justice has developed rapidly since its formation in 2004 as the Sector Skills Council for UK criminal justice organisations. Today it works to inform policy and industry standards, whilst focusing on the improvement of service delivery.

Dr Benedict Eccles, Head of Consultancy Practice at Skills for Justice, added: “As a sector skills council, we value Mike’s thought leadership and passion for effective policing. We have mutual interests in developing a great workforce that is fit for purpose in organisations committed to quality in their services.

“Our clients, such as the uniformed services and departments of the civil service, are already benefiting from having access to his support and expertise. It’s a privilege to have him on board.”

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