Wednesday, 26 July 2017

My advice

There is lots of reflection on policing and police at the moment so I thought it might be time to share the email I wrote to my son a few years ago as he embarked on his police career:

As you become the fourth in five generations to join the Met, these are slightly updated versions of the rules I was given by my own father and his colleagues in 1981, with one or two additions from my experience.  

 I am proud you have made this choice to serve, entirely of your own volition. Keep safe, watch your back and watch out for your colleagues.  In every sense of the phrase. 

I hope you will grow as a man and as a human being to the same extent that I did in The Job. And have as much fun, so that, whenever you finish your time, just like me you will be satisfied that you have done some good and wish you could do it all over again. 

You will see and hear the phrase TJF. The Job's F***ed.  By my standards of 1981 it is, but by my Dad's standards of 1956 it was when I joined. If you could go back over each generation all would say the same.  But you must take as you find - and you will probably just  find that, compared to what we knew, TJD - The Job's Different.

 Anyway, the rules: 

RULE 1 - THE GOLDEN, UNBREAKABLE IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, RULE.  You have a warrant card in your pocket. It was hard work getting it.  You only ever give it up when you are ready to, so everything you do on or off duty has to be incapable of allowing anybody to take it from you. 

Rule 2 - Your warrant card sets you apart.  It gives you power but also imposes duties. You act as necessary in circumstances where most people do nothing. Be proud of that. 

Rule 3 - You are joining a new family.  It is a large one with members across the country and indeed the world.  Like all families, there are falling outs.  Some members will irritate you, upset you and occasionally let you down.  You will have to learn which ones you trust and which you can't.  But also like all families, when the chips are down they are there for each other. They will be for you and you for them - always bearing in mind Rule 1. 

Rule 4 - Take each and every training opportunity offered to you. You never know when having that skill will make the difference between getting to do something you really need to, or being somewhere you really want to be.   

Rule 5  - You must be respectful to rank and seniority - despite the best efforts of some, it is still a disciplined service.  But it is entirely possible to be questioning in a respectful manner. Decent senior officers will show respect back to a junior who politely but reasonably argues their corner. Even if they disagree and you lose. 

Rule 6 - Aspiration to roles and ranks is fine, but the whole organisation works best when everybody at every level does their best. The pride is in being an officer, whatever the rank or role you hold. You will find your niche one day, it might take two years it might take twenty. Nobody has anything but respect for somebody who finds it and stays, excelling in it - no matter what they wear on their shoulder. It isn't a competition with your friends (or family!) 

Rule 7 - You will see the best and worst of human nature.  You will see sadness and joy.  You will go places and see things that most people will never be aware exist, let alone witness.  Keep smiling if you can, if not then talk about it. 

Rule 8 - Cock ups are understandable, covering them up isn't.  Put another way, to err is human, to hide it is criminal. See Rule 1. 

Rule 9 - 
You see policing every day, the member of the public you talk to might experience it once a decade. Make sure they tell their friends how good it was.

Rule 10 - 
The unofficial Met mantra must always be borne in mind - "If you can't take a joke you shouldn't join the Job".

1 comment:

  1. My advice
    Erase this on last page (a vengeance against the Met ?) unless being discredited suits you.
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