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Overview of the police service

Introduction to Actvity 2 and an overview of the policing structures in England and Wales.
Hello and welcome back. We’re now moving into activity two. In activity one, we looked at some your motivations for considering pursuing joining the police service and pursuing a career within policing. Some of the skills and competencies that are required to become a police officer to carry out what is in effect a demanding role. I think anyone who watched the news or recent coverage of some of the demonstrations can obviously see the certain demands that are placed on that modern-day police officer out on the streets. Now, we also looked at some of the values that are required and probably more importantly expected of police officers.
That’s not just from the police officers perspective, but also probably more importantly from members of the community. Now, in activity two what we’re going to do is move in to giving you a broader understanding of the police service, how it’s made up some of its component parts, and some of the specialist units. But I think it’s important to set the scene around British policing. Now, British policing is often been characterized with the image of the Bobbi on the beat. That’s something you’d often heard referred to. The dixon of dark green or that’s quite an outdated image, and going back quite in the past. That’s what people expect, is that police officer on the beat with a helmet walking around.
But this is fast becoming an outdated view on what the reality of policing is. But it’s very much served as an exemplar for other democratic nations when they’ve been considering establishing their own policing systems, and certainly from my experience having worked across the world with various police forces in a diverse countries. They look to British policing in when they’re reviewing and setting up their policing structures. If we consider though, where is the starting point of what we consider to be modern policing in this country. I think you would go back to 1829. What happened there was, so Robert Peel was appointed as the Home Secretary and he negotiated police reform.
What he established was what we would probably see today as the modern police force. I think a slang expression for police officers was compilers, and that comes from obviously sir Robert Peel. But legislation was introduced in 1829, and that really did pave the way for London’s first paid professional police force. Some of the principles that were established back in 1829 are as valuable today as they we’re back in that day, and that’s something again, we’re going to examine because it’s still important. You’ll often hear these referred to as the pelium principles.
Now if we turn to the structure of police forces in England and Wales, there are currently 43 police forces across England and Wales that are funded by the home office. Now, each one of those is led in terms of the operational delivery by a chief constable. The only variation in that is in London and the city of London where there’s a commissioner instead of chief console, but they are de facto the same. They have the same role. They report to the Home Secretary and we’ll look at the role of the home secretary. The other person with post that is really relevant at this time is the police and Crime Commissioner.
This is a new post that’s been introduced in the last few years. But they’ve got quite a pivotal role within policing and that’s something that we’re going to examine. The only slight change to that would be in cities where they have an elected mayor. For example, London, Leeds, Manchester, where the mayor would have responsibility for policing. What is the purpose of the police service? I think when we start to look at this, there are many definitions and many interpretations, and if I asked you to give your own interpretation of what the police service do, you would probably come out with some of the values that I’m about to give.
But the ones I’m going to rely on actually go back to 1829. If you were to say, what is the purpose of the police service, the first one is to uphold the law fairly and firmly. I don’t think any of us would disagree with that. The second one is to prevent crime because that’s what we want to do. We want to make our communities safer, and we want to prevent crime at the first outlook rather than responding to it when it’s taking place. You can see so to uphold more fairly and firmly to prevent crime. The next part is to pursue and bring to justice those who break the law.
If we aren’t able to prevent the crime, what we want to do is obviously pursue and bring to justice those who are breaking the law. The next is to keep the Queen’s peace and be seen to do this with integrity, common sense, and sound judgment. Sounds very simple. But I think even if we look over the past year of what’s taken place in policing and the demonstrations that have taken place.
Some of the events around the world which have had an impact across policing, not just in the States, but also in London, and the emergence of groups like Black Lives Matters where police officers have really got to deal with these people and these demonstrations in a proportionate and equitable way. The recent examples and say we’ve seen in London where we’ve got to uphold that Queen’s peace, but be seen to do this with integrity, common sense and judgment. I think from a personal perspective that’s become more demanding in terms of the scrutiny that’s placed on the police service with social media.
But what we can do is say in activity two is just have a look at that in some of the systems and the structures and specialist departments. Again, this will give you more of an understanding of them, so it can help you on that journey to consider how you become a police officer and what policing is all about. I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you.
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How to Become a Police Officer in England and Wales

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