Merseyside Police officers and staff graduate from first Masters in Police LeadershipWednesday 1 August 2012
A group of nine officers and staff from Merseyside Police have graduated from Liverpool Hope University in the UK’s first attendance taught Masters degree in Police Leadership, which has been especially customised for Merseyside Police.
The degree is a unique partnership between the University and Merseyside Police to develop the leadership capacity of its staff.
The course’s focus on leadership stems from the need for the best leaders in terms of protecting the public and fighting crime but also having effective management systems in the face of severe cuts to the policing budget in the current `austerity public economy`.
A total of 24 students began the Masters programme in 2009, and these nine students are the first group to graduate. Two further groups of staff from Merseyside Police have since started the programme. The students attend part-time on a weekly basis and complete the Masters degree in two to three years.
The distinctive feature of the programme is that as well as looking at issues of leadership and strategic change, one important element of it examines Values and Ethical Leadership.
Course leader John Philips said: “The university provides `a safe place for dangerous conversations` and a place for reflection. Students have adopted a critical and challenging approach to traditional `command and control` styles of leadership and to what is often perceived on the outside as the negative aspects of `cop culture`. They interrogate their own attitudes, values and practices, driven by a sense that their organisation is a service to the community rather than a force policing it.
“The range of research studies undertaken by the police staff indicates the challenging nature of their inquiries. Those graduating researched themes like strategies for leading change in an age of austerity; building values and ethical leadership at every level of the service; moving from command and control to servant leadership; examining the ethical use of force with devices like Tasers; and the attitudes of police officers to honour based violence and forced marriage in ethnic communities.”
Among those graduating was Detective Chief Inspector Colin Radcliffe, Head of Crime Scene Investigation at Merseyside Police. He said: “It has been an excellent course and it has been very refreshing to be able to engage in worthwhile discussions during our lectures and seminars. We have been given the freedom to add our own experiences and knowledge to our studies.”
Business Change Programme Manager Nicola Boardman also completed the course. She said: “I am very grateful to the Force and the University for giving us the opportunity to complete the course. I believe it is a qualification that is valued by the Force as it broadens our perspective.
Analyst Noel Craven added: “The Masters degree has helped to sharpen our critical thinking and we will now be able to combine our practical work with the academic theory we have discussed and studied in our degree.”
Chief Constable of Merseyside Police Jon Murphy said: "This is an exciting and pioneering opportunity for the Force to be able to work with Liverpool Hope University to develop the leadership skills and expertise within an academic framework that our officers and support staff demonstrate on a daily basis.
"The Masters in Police Leadership is a significant step for policing and will provide excellent grounding for a more efficient and improved police force for the future."