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Graduation 2015: Rising through the ranks of academia

Tony Jones Wednesday 22 July 2015

Completing an MSc in Police Leadership has transformed Tony Jones’s attitude to learning - and to his job. Tony, who is a Chief Inspector with Merseyside Police, left school in 1984 at the age of 16 and worked his way up through the ranks.

Despite his high level job, Tony says that it was undertaking the MSc that really gave him the academic confidence he needed. He graduated with Merit across the programme, which he balanced with his full time job and completed over three years.

Tony said: “I always felt like I had some unfinished business when it came to academia. Due to a youth spent contemplating becoming a rock star (yes, seriously), I left school with five O Levels and although in those days that wasn’t a bad achievement, since then I had often wondered whether, if I had been more focused, I could have gone on to do more. To compound that, my family and friends always stated I should have gone further in my education.”

He added: “Studying for the MSc in Police Leadership was a lot to balance and it was hard work – I was promoted to Chief Inspector not long after I started the course. However, I really valued being in an environment where there was space to debate with others and look at the bigger picture. When you work in a job for a long time, even if you don’t realise it, you can become compartmentalised. The MSc gave me time to think and to explore why we - the Police Force - make the decisions we do. Little did I know when I was 16 that when I was in my late forties I would be at university debating the pros and cons of Plato’s Cave analogy.” 

Tony’s MSc dissertation put theory into practice. His research looked at different change management theories and how these could be used to help centralise crime and incident management procedures across Merseyside Police – a task that Tony had been working on since gaining his promotion to Chief Inspector. 

“I feel my degree has given me something extra to bring to the table,” said Tony. “I researched the ways in which we can communicate with our people and stakeholders, and bring them with us during periods of change, while remaining transparent and meeting the expectations of the National Crime Recording Process.

“My academic studies confirmed the importance of communication, something which my own organisation pushes on a daily basis with the Chief Constable’s vision, which we call ‘Just Talk’. This is all about police officers and staff talking to the public on an everyday basis and not just when there is an incident. This allows us  to work together to respond to issues that affect the people of Merseyside, whether they live here or are just visiting temporarily to study in universities such as Hope.

“I hope that applying my research to a real life change process made a difference not just to me and my team, but to everybody who is served by Merseyside Police. If I had to sum up my experience at Liverpool Hope in three words, I’d say it was challenging, motivating and rewarding.”

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