Q&A with Peter McDonald-Smith
Performance and Development Coach
How did you come to work for Police Now?
I have previously worked as a social worker, as well as in the fire service, and now currently work as a Performance and Development Coach at Police Now.
I wanted to join Police Now so I could coach new police officers and help them improve important skillsets to become more effective listeners, communicators and enablers. I wanted a job where I could make a difference and help tackle inequality, injustice and violence.
I strongly believe in the Peelian principle that ‘the police are the public and the public are the police’ and through joining Police Now I aim to help improve relationships between the public and the police.
Has your cultural identity ever affected the way you view the police, or your decisions to join the policing sector – particularly over the last year?
I was born in Britain, and I have Indo/Afro Caribbean heritage. I grew up in what used to be quite a rough area in Hackney, and people would run from police officers when they saw them.
I now work with my Community Monitoring Group, which is part of MOPAC (Mayors Office for Police and Communities). It helps keep police officers accountable through honesty and transparency, which helps improve relationships between the police and the community.
I like being able to help bridge the gap between communities and the police, and having joined the policing sector I’ve gained new understandings and perspectives of the police which helps me do this.
How would you describe your job as a Performance Development Coach?
I think the simplest way to do that is:
– A, accountable; I hold the student officers accountable to the values of policing, the code of ethics, and the Police Now mission.
– B, build; I build leaders with GRIT. Growth mindset, Resilience, Integrity, Tactics. I build leaders with can-do attitudes, who are effective decision makers and understand decision-making models. Leaders that are prepared to influence change.
– C, celebrate success; I encourage officers to share their success stories to boost their confidence, measure their progress, and inspire others.
What do you think of Black History Month?
I believe it is a cause to celebrate success. It is an opportunity recognise the success of diversity and also recognise that there is one human race.
By celebrating Black History Month we are not detracting from anyone else’s achievements, because everyone across the world has worth and value, but instead we are recognising the talents and achievements of Black people which have often been overlooked.