Police chiefs ‘bullying culture’

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Published: Saturday 28th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Police chiefs have used their expenses to fund extramarital affairs and are guilty of “potentially predatory, sexual conduct towards junior colleagues”, a highly critical report has found.

The review warned of a “bullying boys’ club culture” and said many junior officers were too scared to confront their bosses over misconduct because they feared it would cost them their careers.

The report into leadership by the College of Policing found cases of racism, sexism and bullying in the police.

Senior officers see themselves as “captains of industry” and have grown accustomed to the lavish perks top CEOs would expect, it warns.

Police forces have paid for gym membership, executive cars and private school fees for some chief officers’ children, the report said.

It warned: “We were told that some chief officers tended to see themselves as being more akin to ‘captains of industry’ than public servants – with all the entitlements and privileges that came with the CEO role.

“Several interviewees described a ‘culture of entitlement’ at chief officer level.”

The study was conducted by academics who examined cases of alleged misconduct of chief police officers and staff from 2008 onwards.

Researchers spoke to a number of officers and investigators who had probed the cases.

They painted a picture of culture where macho police chiefs behaved like silverback gorillas – dominant and impervious to criticism.

One told the report: “What has been valued is ‘silverback’ leaders who are charismatic, have big egos and drive performance, over those who are more thoughtful and who deliver in a wider sense.

“(The force) is defined by a macho, arrogant, bullying culture and it tends to recruit a particular kind of candidate in that mould.”

Police chiefs in their 40s and 50s have misused their expenses to try to line themselves up a job for after retirement, the report also found.

One was discovered promoting his consultancy service while on sick leave shortly before he retired.

The report was commissioned in 2013 after a series of high profile cases raised questions about the integrity of the police and the role of senior police leaders.

Mike Hough, one of the report’s authors and professor of criminal policy at Birkbeck, University of London, said: “This study is a first step towards understanding how police leaders can get drawn into misconduct.

“It identifies both organisation pressures and individual vulnerabilities that can result in misconduct amongst people doing very demanding jobs.

“Understanding these factors is central in mitigating the risks.”

Published: Saturday 28th March 2015 by The News Editor

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