Police Now’s Reflection Event was the first time Cohort 4 had all been reunited since finishing the Summer Academy a few months ago. The day started with an introduction by Police Now CEO and co-founder David Spencer, reminding participants that he had once been in their shoes as a new serving officer. He revealed some of his highs and lows in his first few years as a PC and set the tone of the day, pointing out that reflection, self-awareness and learning from mistakes is all part of the learning process in policing.
ACC Pippa Mills (Essex Police) addressed the cohort, explaining how important it was for participants to reflect for their personal and professional development. She advised participants not to become cynical, but to make the absolute best of every minute, making sure they also had down time to reflect on how things had gone, and if they hadn’t gone well, how they could improve in the future.
Police Now invited serving police to a panel discussion on reflection and first thoughts
After a short discussion between participants, a panel led by Police Now’s Leadership Development Manager Lucy Thayer, addressed first thoughts for participants at this stage in their careers, with the panel comprising of ACC Pippa Mills, Superintendent Steve Howard (Greater Manchester Police), DI Jenny Payne (Essex Police) and Superintendent Craig Saunders (Essex Police).
Steve Howard was very candid about his pathway into the police and shared his views on the importance of looking after personal mental health and wellbeing. Jenny Payne reminded participants who may be the first on the scene at a death, that “little errors have massive implications” and to check and double check the smaller details when dealing with the deceased. Craig Saunders reiterated the panel’s advice for ‘space for thought’ and reflecting and learning in a challenging environment, sharing his own experiences as a Direct Entry Superintendent.
The Police Now Alumni panel comprising PC Jacqui Coleman (Bedfordshire Police), PC Stephanie Ukpelukpe (Metropolitan Police) and PC Tom Byrne (West Midlands Police), facilitated by TDC Sascha Eady (Metropolitan Police), encouraged participants to take opportunities, have faith in themselves and to make the most of their energy and passion for policing. Julie Onwukegu, Police Now’s Head of the Summer Academy, led a feedback and reflection session for participants to discuss and suggest ideas to improve future training.
Kathryn Perrara opening discussions on meanings of power
The day finished with a talk by Kathryn Perrara, from NHS Horizons. Kathryn’s background was in law, but she changed careers when she realised she was “just doing a job and not making a difference”. Kathryn discussed why it is difficult to change things particularly in the public sector, with thoughts around permission, structural organisation and what is meant by ‘power’. She reminded participants of the importance of working together, stating “we can’t do our job in the health service without police, social workers, and social impact. Learning how it links together, helps us all to do our jobs better”.
Finishing with a ‘snowstorm’, a physical way of sharing ideas by writing a statement and improvement and throwing them to other tables in the room, Kathryn ended an extremely productive day, with a reminder of the key reflection messages of the event:
- Don’t give yourself a hard time.
- Take yourself seriously but be humble, you need time for yourself and reflection.
- You can’t do it all. Do what you can well.
Participants ‘snowstorming’ ideas at their reflection event