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Chief wants officers to be leaders as he opens the door for promotion

Northumbria Chief says he recognises the benefits of moving forces and taking advantage of the opportunities on offer
Published - 14/02/2017 By - Martin Buhagiar - Police Oracle

Forces need to look beyond their own borders when promoting officers so they do not “stagnate”.

That is the view of Northumbria Chief Constable Steve Ashman who has vowed to open his force’s doors to officers up and down the country.

Speaking to Police Oracle, CC Ashman also outlined his plans to release sergeants from their desks, saying forces have made it impossible for them to leave stations.

The former Met officer and Cleveland superintendent revealed he benefitted by moving from one force to another, saying clearly there are advantages for Northumbria when it comes to selecting candidates from a larger pool.

He said: “For every single promotion, at every single rank we will now go external and I am not sure there are many other forces that are doing that. I think it is really important you try to get the best talent in you possibly can as it freshens up your own organisation.

“I am the product of external movement - this is the third force I’ve worked for.

“I recognise the benefits of moving forces and taking advantage of the opportunities forces offer. I left the Met because Cleveland were asking for superintendents and then moved my way up to chief officer.

“It was slightly different because you needed to move around then, but the College of Policing leadership review recognised it is in everyone’s interests and is quite healthy to move forces. It is healthy to offer opportunities to officers beyond your own borders.”

Will such a move have a negative effect on Northumbria’s rank and file though? CC Ashman does not think so.

“If you think about it logically, this way you have got a proper, free market and, alright, there are issues about moving and so forth, and there are costs associated either for the force or the individual depending on what the arrangements are, but there are some huge benefits of opening up,” he says.

“It refreshes your own work force because they realise if they want to get promoted, or they want to get more advanced in terms of promotion, they are going to have to compete with their peers, not just in this force, but they are going to have to compete with the very best candidates nationwide. I think that it is entirely healthy.

“If you draw that analogy in the private sector, or any other market place for employers, you would not only look from within - of course you would look outside. You want to get the very, very best."

Last year for the first time in many years Northumbria allowed external candidates to apply for promotion in every rank. Transfers were available for constables with promotions at sergeant, chief inspector, superintendent and chief superintendent level .

“This year it is every rank up to superintendents – we may do chief superintendents at the end of the year,” adds CC Ashman.

He says his force will follow the College of Policing’s leadership review because he “fundamentally believes in it”.

He added: “We took a superintendent on promotion, a chief superintendent from the Met was relocated up here and is now in charge of our largest area command. We took two superintendents from Durham, we took a chief inspector on promotion from Cleveland, we took people at sergeant level from Hampshire and elsewhere.

“We are absolutely following what the leadership review by the College of Policing said because I fundamentally believe in it. I believe we should open up opportunities for promotion to every officer in the country because you are fishing in a far bigger pool and we have got some great examples over the last 12 months of people that we brought in.

“We brought a temporary ACC in rather than a do it in house from GMP. That is before we go to market for a substantive ACC when the strategic command course finishes.

“We are really, really pushing the fact that it is not because we

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