#intelligentpolicing – Simon Guilfoyle’s ‘Systems’ Thinking

The Vauxhall Astra is popular with various Bri...

Since long before I retired from the police and like many others, I became increasingly disillusioned by the levels of inept management within British policing. Although I often expressed my views on the matter, they were often ignored. This was mostly due to my lowly position in the hierarchy of policing, along with a (perceived) lack of any formal qualification actually ‘allowing’ me to formulate or have an opinion…

When there was any interest expressed in my opinion, it was usually shown by platitudinous (deaf) ears. I had to do things differently, firstly I sought to add credence to my opinions with academic study. Secondly, I turned to blogging and social media where I set about trying to publicise the issues I was concerned about, the ones that were impacting on operational police officers and the public they serve.

I engaged in regular debate and contributed to various blogs and forums looking at policing in general, police reform in particular and got my head around some management theory. I started to take an even greater interest in the wider public sector issues, government austerity measures, politics and the policies impacting upon police service delivery.

During this mostly educated (but also sometimes anecdotal/opinionated) engagement with others, I have found some very interesting, knowledgable and highly experienced people on my virtual travels. In addition to all the somewhat simplistic (but still valid) opinion of many, I found the views and sound observations of Inspector Simon Guilfoyle to be of great interest.

I contend that all numerical targets are arbitrary and cause dysfunctional behaviours, but argue for relevant and proportionate performance measurement within a systems context…(InspSimon Guilfoyle)

Simon, in a similar vein to Steve over at The Thin Blue Line Blog (but by different methods), seeks to cut out the cancer of current management methods in policing. His ‘systems’ thinking, in addition to being interesting, is also presented in a manner which is very easy to understand.

Simon produces ‘evidence’ based and ‘academically’ sound information and opinion, often published in humourous manner via his blog on the subject (see here). He has highlighted many of the issues currently driving the predominant management methods within policing today. He previously pointed out how; the impact of targets on policing delivery are a crime in progress. There is (thankfully) an increasing group of people within policing who are now in total agreement with his views, I would also count myself as part of that group.

In addition to the interesting and acclaimed pieces of work he’s done on the subject recently, Simon has now produced a book about ‘systems’ in policing (see below). His book is receiving some great comments and many recommendations; it has to be commended to anyone responsible for management within policing.

This book could be game changing for the police service. Systems thinking theory can be viewed as complex and challenging, but not for Simon Guilfoyle. In this book he provides a comprehensive and cohesive explanation of the theory based on years of research and his practical experience of applying systems thinking in a policing context…(Ch.Supt. Irene Curtis)

Click to purchase
Simon’s book is also available as an Amazon Kindle e-book (click image) and more reviews can be found HERE.

Intelligent Policing: How Systems Thinking Methods Eclipse Conventional Management Practice by Simon Guilfoyle – A Triarchy Press Publication
John Seddon
Book type: Paperback (and e-book)
ISBN: 978-1-909470-05-7

Today, despite mostly trying their best, many police managers are actually prevented from doing the ‘right’ thing for their officers, for policing delivery and for the public they supposedly serve.

On this morning’s Chris Evans Breakfast show (BBC Radio 2); Baroness Julia Neuberger, whilst discussing the news of Margaret Thatcher’s recent demise alluded to a predominant problem here – “If you want to lead, you won’t always be liked.” Too often, our political ‘leaders’ (and police managers) are far too preoccupied with public opinion and press relations. They are so tied up with pandering to that opinion, be it actual or perceived, they end up being just too busy to actually do their job.

There is no doubt that management within any public sector organisation is an undertaking that is an onerous task these days however; the most important task is simply to manage the delivery of a good ‘service’ to our society, nothing more and nothing less! Perhaps the time has come for police ‘managers’ to try some new methods?

You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew…(Albert Einstein)

Try some ‘systems thinking’ in your police leadership and management, not for you but for us!

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