What Coppers Want


On Tuesday 22nd November 2016, a Met police officer was stabbed three times in the stomach. He was one of four London-based officers injured in separate incidents on the same day. One PC had their hand broken, one was attacked with a hypodermic needle and another was punched in the face.

They were just doing their jobs.

Just doing their duty.

On the same day, a leading national charity – the Police Dependents’ Trust – released the results of their wide-ranging ‘Injury on Duty’ research. The headlines look like this:

– 10,987 serving UK officers and staff took part

– 81% stated that they had suffered at least one physical injury or mental health issue as a consequence of their police work

– 76% stated that this was in the past 5 years

– 45% stated they needed to take a week or more off work as a consequence

Let those numbers sink in.

The Police Federation for England & Wales estimates that there are more than 23,000 assaults on police officers every year. That’s one every 12 minutes.

Earlier in the year (during June and July 2016), the Federation ran their annual staff survey:

– 45,000 officers took part

– 68% of officers said that they don’t feel valued (despite the fact that 61% of them felt proud to be in the police)

– 56% said their own morale was low

– 93.5% said morale in the police service was low

– Only 17% felt that police officers are respected in society

– Just 13% would recommend joining the police

Whilst some of these figures actually represent a marginal improvement on 2015, they remain pretty sobering.

And these remain extraordinarily challenging times for policing.

So what do Coppers want?

I.     To make a difference

Some things never change.

Ask most Coppers why they joined and the simple answer will be that they wanted to make a difference. The fact that it’s a well worn phrase doesn’t make it any less true. It’s the motivation of every good copper I’ve ever known – and I’ve known a great many of them.

Nobody joins the police to get rich.

Nobody joins to be famous.

Nobody joins to win first prize in a popularity contest.

Almost all of us, in our own unique ways, joined because we wanted to change the world

(OK, so driving fast cars had its attractions too).

Very little frustrates coppers more than the stuff that gets in the way of their ability to get on and do the job. It might be bureaucracy. Or buck-passing. Or politics. Or bad decision making. It might be any number of things.

Most Coppers just want to make a difference.

II.     A Locker & a Radio

Most Coppers are straightforward souls.

Tell them where you need them to be and they will be there.

Tell them what you need them to do and they’ll get stuck in (with the occasional, obligatory grumble along the way).

Just give them the kit they need to get the job done.

Decent quality kit. Kit that works. Kit that protects them – and the public they serve.

They’d also quite like a kettle. And some forks.

III.        World Class Leadership

Leadership. Not Management.

At every level of the police service.

Coppers want to be inspired.

They want leaders who are brave, who care, who aren’t just in it for themselves, who understand that everything can’t be a priority, who will stick around long enough to see the consequences of their actions – and who recognise that it’s people who matter most of all.

( You can find a few more thoughts on leadership here: https://policecommander.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/ten-thoughts-about-leadership/ )

IV.     World Class Training

Coppers want great training.

Definitely not a series of hopeless powerpoint slides flickering on poor quality computer screens. Or the sort of tick box nonsense designed solely to offset some corporate liability. Or the kind of input that begins half-heartedly midway through the morning and runs out of steam shortly before lunch.

They want training of the standard we give to Firearms and Public Order officers; courses of the quality we deliver for Hostage Negotiators.

They want to know that we value them enough to give them the best.

V.     To be defended & celebrated

Coppers want people – and their bosses in particular – to defend them.

Boldly, not blindly.

In a world where the story being told about policing is frequently hostile and damaging, this matters more than I can say.

They want an answer to the journalist’s question: Who is standing up for policing in this country?

When things go right, they want to hear the rest of us celebrating – loudly and unashamedly – the everyday heroism of the men and women who do this job.

And, when things go wrong, they want a fair and balanced hearing.

VI.     Change that is for the better

This is a time of unprecedented change for policing.

Some of that change has been long overdue, irrespective of the financial context. But still, it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that not all of it has been for the better.

For many Coppers, there has simply been too much, too quickly – and they feel left behind

They want to be able to draw breath, to understand the grand plan (the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’) and they want to be participants rather than just passive recipients of it all.

VII.      A Simple Thank You

This remains a job like no other.

For the Copper who has been stabbed.

For the Copper at the scene of the cot death or the car crash.

For the Copper with a broken hand.

For the Copper standing in the hurting places.

For the Copper who has been up all night in the freezing cold and driving rain.

For the Copper suffering with PTSD, struggling to comprehend the things that have happened in the places where they’ve been.

For the Copper with the scars, seen and unseen.

In this often ungrateful world of ours, a simple thank you can still go a long way.



29 thoughts on “What Coppers Want

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  1. As a member of the HCNU this strikes a chord. Because my training in that arena really is first class. But in so many other areas it’s woeful, half-baked, delivered in a manner lacking inspiration (when it’s not online) – and the organisation and the public demand we do things to a degree of excellence that this training cannot support.

    Great post – yet again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree not one off us is perfect.We all make mistakes in life and in our jobs no matter what the job is.Police Officers are under more pressure in the job today then ever before,because of the cuts to Officers the way they are treated.And I couldn’t do the job myself I admire every Police Officer who do the job.Yes there are some bad apples among them.But I thank you all.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Would be good if people ar your level across the UK actually took time out to visit injured officers at hospital. I know I’d get out of my bed at 3am to go and see one of mine. I know you would too. But many supervisors won’t.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do find it staggering and disappointing that injured officers don’t receive a visit each day from someone from their station (regardless of rank) as a matter of course not just from their closer mates. That’s basic stuff and should be in a leader’s DNA !


  3. Another great blog which helps highlight some of the work we are doing including campaigning for harsher sentences for those who assault police – an assault on a police officer is an assault on society and not just part of the job. And following the shocking but perhaps not surprising results of our pay and morale survey we are doing what we can to address the issues. The top reason cited by officers for having low morale was the way the police as a whole is treated. Raising the profile and celebrating what an amazing job police officers do and getting the British public and government to say a simple thank you is exactly what our #BelieveinBlue campaign is all about – we encourage those who care about the great but stretched British police service to sign up to our Thunderclap which will thank police officers for keeping us safe all-year round and especially at Christmas – find out more: http://polfed.org/campaigning/BelieveInBlue.aspx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Instead of trawling blogs seeking to justify the little that the Federation do may I suggest your time be better spent vociferously campaigning to right the wrongs and injustices that the Fed have allowed to be forced upon the majority of members to maintain the Lifestyle of few. Integrity is non negotiable or so I thought!


    2. Another excellent article!

      The comment by PFEW did make me laugh as once again out of touch imbeciles at PFEW trying to swing the old blue lamp about great theyve been!
      Talk about TRYING to steal someone elses thunder!

      As for their survey seriously?
      45,000 surveyed and their blowing their trumpet!
      Not even half the number of serving officers could be bothered with it because their survey is like them pointless.
      Sign up to Thunder clap? Who thinks of this utter tripe. More like Thunder Crap!

      WHY is that? Because leatherhead are out of touch with the bobby on the beat!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Wow!!!! I mean, seriously…… the fed hi-jacking what is an outstanding summary of the thoughts of rank and file cops in the current climate. The fed is a disgrace and not fit for purpose. Quite simply the fed are not fit for purpose and surplus to requirements, couldn’t defend a marshmallow from an open fire!!! The federation have been the very catalyst behind “divide and conquer” and the sooner a vote of no confidence is cast and your disbanded the better in my opinion!!


  4. Reblogged this on The Institute for Criminology and Justice and commented:
    It is high time to look at the element of orchestration of these kind of concerted attacks, as they are not isolated incidents, and with every officer injured or even killed in the line of duty the secret plotters become evermore visible despite their facades and strategies that they employ for their lose ends operations under abuse of immunity…, even and especially, when the officers came too close to intercept organised criminality and/or recognised a bent copper or superior abusing his authority to frame a good one on behalf of dangerous associations f.ex. in freemasonry. There have been just too many attacks strategically and conveniently to dismiss the possibility of crimes under immunity, and every single one more than just coincidence but the pestilence of also freemason bishops and their criminal forbidden ranks hidden in churchyards and even law courts and greed inspired blackhole and blackgold shore….


  5. I am a mum of a young PC in the met abd he is just 21 and in his eyes he has the dream job .In my eyes I see and fear that one day I will hear of him being hurt or what he sees day to day will burn him out .
    But he loves his job so much that it is his enthusiasm for the job that makes me so proud of what he does and everyone he works with and all the other police officers out there .We live in a different country to when I was growing up it saddens me that there isn’t the same respect given to the police on our day now .My son so wants to make a difference every day and to give something back to society .It is so true what I have read and what I want for my son and all his colleagues is to have respect and a thank you for what they do for us every day .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For evil to succeed good men just have to do nothing Alison. I think you are quite right to be proud of your Son who looks to be doing the right thing every day for his society. Lets all keep believing in each other and keep trying to do the right thing, even when we feel things are stacking up against us. My thanks to your Son for protecting us and to you for bringing up such a good lad 🙂


  6. I’m not a Copper but I’m honoured to have had friends in the Force all my working life. I deeply appreciate the contribution the Police make to our Society AND I tell Coppers on the street.

    The Commander’s comment are heartfelt, insightful and could/should be applied to many other organisations.

    More Leadership less Management. (we had enough forks but never enough tea spoons)

    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Those are heartfelt words, telling it like it really is. For so many officers and police staff, they do the best they can; despite the ridicules, unsocial hours, stress, cuts, thankless tasks etc. I volunteer with the police when I can at the VCC in Cambs and its a pleasure to do what I can and see how hard everyone works. Sometimes I’ve brought in some home cooked food at the station and sweet treats every Xmas. As a small gesture of thanks. From what I’ve seen, they’re just hardworking ordinary folk trying to make a difference with what power and resources they’re allowed. But I also think it takes a special kind of person to join the force and face the challenges of that job. Not for the faint hearted and they’re all courageous heroes in their own rights to take on a job with such potential risks. My thoughts are with those injured. I hope life treats them all well somehow and I’m always grateful for their efforts and positive impact on society.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Yet another excellent piece, and one that many members of the public would support. I wonder if certain groups who may need to hear it most, unfortunately, may be in that horrible “post-truth” (sorry I hate that & other nonsense stuff, but does describe a certain mind set) place, e.g. other snr officers, certain media, Govt??
    I truly believe that you and many, many serving officers have NO desire to defend those who do not uphold the highest standards of the oaths they swore or warrants they hold, and are rightly frustrated that they tarnish all with their behaviour. I understand that there are some “jobs” that we feel, rightly, need to be held to more scrutiny / honesty/ integrity, e.g. health professional, police, those working in CJ services, politicians (?). BUT scrutiny needs to be fair & effective – and timely – for all parties concerned. AND praise & respect to be offered in the appropriate balance.
    I would be the first to openly & honestly challenge officers or services when I believed their actions to be questionable – and I have. I am also keen to applaud & defend same when stupid, unsupported, malicious or cowardly attacks are made. I am only one person, but I do encourage others to do the same. I know It’s a small thing, but it is what I can do.
    For what it may be worth – I thank you and all your fellow officers for their service, the risks all take to protect me and mine, the strife witnessed, the strife prevented, the physical and psychological harm endured, the sacrifices made ( family time, relationships, well-being) including the ultimate one.
    In case it isn’t already clear. THANK YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The numbers are terrible and I wish I had the answer to bringing them down. At the moment all I really do is say I am grateful that people do pick the police as a career. I am sure many others think the same and wish the same about numbers. I do call police with information on thing I see now and then it’s not much but I hope it may show my support if nothing else. Keep up the good work and be safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Many years ago, before my grandmother passed away and when I was teen without direction, I remember being out with my Nan in an East London high street. East Ham to be precise. I remember on a number of occasions she would see a Copper on the beat and march us over to them, stop them and say, “thank you for doing what you do and it’s lovely to see you on the beat”.

    The Coppers would always smile, thank her right back for her comments and continue on their beat.

    I remember thinking at the time how embarrassing it was, how embarrassing she was. But I respected those Coppers and I thank her for showing me, at such a young age, how the Job was so important. Just being seen made my Nan feel safer. A friendly face in an ever increasing land of ‘too busy’ and no smiles. She felt anxiety leaving her house because of the intoxicating feeling of animosity in the open where she lived. How things were changing from the days of unlocked doors etc… Coppers had always symbolised safety, trust, help and reduced her anxiety when she was in public.

    Though I was embarrassed at the time, I never asked her why she did it.

    I’m a better Copper because of her. And I always spend a bit too much time at calls to elderly people than perhaps our control rooms would like. But I don’t care…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think connecting with the elderly is time well spent when you are out and about. Its common sense policing in my view when you consider your own influences in life. How many of those elderly people you invest time in influence youngsters in their families? Thanks for everything you do Jimmy.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It all needs saying. Getting it OUTSIDE the mainly closed-shop of those who wear the uniform, to the general public, is essential to counteract the continual sniping by mainstream media and, shamefully, some MPs who join in with them because it’s in the headlines.
    Bravo, keep saying what needs to be said.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I would like to write and say thank you to you and all your colleagues for your good work. I have had family in the police service and as a railway person have worked with officers. I try and tweet good things to serving officers on Twitter as much as I can. I don’t believe the hype. Keep on doing the job that so many of us admire and respect you for.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Aye there are some bloody awful coppers about but I wouldn’t be without the rest!
    My mind often considers the two lassies who answered a ‘routine’ call and were shot dead and had hand grenades thrown at them.
    What contact I have had with police has normally been good (but not at football matches where every fan is a thug to them it appears) and I have had some very good debates with them in the past.
    It is not the public that ought to stand up for the police but the politicians (money!), the media and those police above Inspector level who appear to fight for position more than for their men.

    Liked by 1 person

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