Police Now's external secondments
Monday 1 November 2021
During the second year of the Police Now National Graduate Leadership Programme, participants are given the opportunity to undertake an external secondment with a partner organisation or an internal attachment with a specialist unit within their police force.
This opportunity is built into the programme to allow officers to experience professional life outside of the police service, work with external partners, bring new skills and learning back into force and contribute to bringing policing and society closer together; ultimately, to improve confidence in the police and lead to more effective policing.
We spoke to 4 participants who completed secondments last year to ask them about their experiences, and what learnings they were able to take back to force.
PC Ella Starbuck
Police Constable, Greater Manchester Police
“Last year I completed a four-week secondment in the Home Office, in the Governance and Secretariat team of the Crime Strategy and Performance Unit (CSPU).
“The secondment was virtual due to coronavirus lockdowns, however I still learnt a great deal and I was fortunate enough attend a couple of face-to-face ministerial meetings, including one with the Minister for Crime and Policing. These meetings helped me develop my understanding of how high-level discussions and examination of data translates to frontline activity – which provided greater meaning to my role as a neighbourhood police officer.
“I have a greater understanding of government programmes and how to secure funding for policing initiatives, which is information I can share with my wider team.
“I will now be able to identify how practices I experience feed into government projects aimed to reduce specific drivers of crime.
“During my secondment I was able to write an Annual Grant Evaluation Report for a Voluntary Sector Crime Reduction Grant which resulted in the re-awarding of funding to a charity supporting law enforcement agencies.
“It was a useful experience which strengthened my confidence to lead a unit towards a common goal, apply pressure and organise timelines of briefings and returns. It was also useful for networking, for example I established a relationship with the Public Safety Group force liaison officer, which will strengthen communications between the force and members of the Home Office.”
PC Anokhi Chouhan
Police Constable, Essex Police
Centre for Social Justice
“I took part in a four-week secondment at the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), a policy think tank in Westminster. I joined their Criminal Justice Unit (CJU) and assisted in researching for their current long-term project on the impact prison has on the family of prisoners.
“I felt that the knowledge I had gained from my frontline policing role allowed me to add real value to the project, and I also found that the research tied directly in with my community policing role, as I researched the issues that ex-prisoners and their families face when an offender re-joins their community.
“I also met with an officer from Thames Valley Police who was running a pilot programme on supporting the children of those arrested if they witness the arrest. I intend to reconnect with them once the pilot is complete, to learn from their findings, and in the meantime I am looking at replicating some other work regarding positive attitudes towards police in young children, not just children of prison officers.
“I’ve been in touch with the CSJ following the attachment to pass on the best contacts for them to speak to when embarking on new research projects that touch on policing activities, and feel that my own research skills were vastly improved through this experience. I will be bringing all these skills and contacts back to my role on the frontline.”
PC Andrew Grant
Police Constable, Thames Valley Police
“I completed my secondment with Edge NE, an organisation of specialists in Serious Youth Violence, Child Criminal Exploitation including County Lines, and Mentoring for Young People. I initially applied for this opportunity with Edge NE because it tied in with some of the work I was doing within my team around knife crime, drug supply and youth offenders.
“During my time at Edge NE, I attended meetings with young people, partner agencies and key stakeholders. I picked the brains of the Edge NE team and drafted a report of findings to share with my supervisors on my return.
On a personal level, my time at Edge NE has better informed the way I manage youth interventions and I have since passed much of this learning on to my wider team. When dealing with young suspects I am more appreciative of contributing factors, such as adverse childhood experiences, and am better able to engage young people from a safeguarding or welfare perspective.
“It was particularly interesting to spend time hearing the backstories of troubled youths without the barrier of a police uniform. This reaffirmed my learning on adverse childhood experiences and other relevant factors that can influence a young person’s life choices. Above all, I was fascinated by the fantastic work carried out by the Edge NE team and the very real impact they have on the lives of disadvantaged youths.”
Police Constable, Surrey Police
Counter Terrorism HQ
“Last year, I completed a secondment with the Thematic Team at Counter Terrorism HQ, which is based in London.
“The array of people I got to meet was phenomenal, it gave me a better understanding of how Counter Terrorism works and allowed me to build a strong contact base to take back to force.
“I was introduced to people from across different teams including Prevent, International Command, FIMU, Investigations and so many more. I met a range of officers and even had a day at New Scotland Yard where I met with the Assistant Commissioner for a one-to-one conversation, which was a ‘pinch me, is this real’ sort of moment.
“I was able to get involved with multiple projects which were being implemented at the time and take back learnings to my force. For example, I learnt about warning signs of people who may be being radicalised and have shared these with my colleagues on the frontline, which has deepened not only my own knowledge but that of the wider team.
“I also found it very interesting to speak to senior officers about topics that don’t always get discussed on the frontline, which provided me with information and advice that will stay with me for the rest of my career and help me when making decisions about my future career.”