At Principle One, we are looking ahead to our second year of partnership with Police Now, a social enterprise that recruits, develops and inspires graduates to become leaders on the policing frontline. As part of the two-year National Graduate Leadership programme, Police Now participants have an opportunity to undertake an external secondment with a Police Now partner organisation and we at Principle One are looking forward to welcoming our second cohort of secondees later this year.
One of the members of the Principle One team, Dale Guildea, was part of the initial Police Now cohort group in 2015, and subsequently spent two years in the Metropolitan Police as a neighbourhood police officer before joining us as a Business Consultant in 2019. As we start preparing for our 2021 secondees, Dale gave some insights on his time on the programme and in frontline policing, and his transition into a role with Principle One.
Dale joined the Police Now programme having always wanted to be a police officer, participating in the police cadets at school and then studying Criminology at university. Having grown up in an area with a high crime rate, he wanted to make a difference at a community level. Attracted to the opportunity of working as a neighbourhood police officer, Dale completed the Police Now training programme and then landed straight into a community role where he was given responsibility to make active change in his ward in London. His work on tackling antisocial behaviour in the area was rewarded with a commendation from the Borough Commander and followed up with a Probationer of the Year award, highlighting his commitment to partnership working and making a difference.
Dale’s experience and the skills that he developed in policing have provided a solid foundation for solving customer problems at Principle One. Since joining, he has worked on two major national systems deliveries for UK Law Enforcement and he’s been surprised how relevant his frontline experience has been.
“Making the transition into industry after serving in the police was an interesting experience. I already had strong listening skills and an ability to think quickly around how best to engage with someone and build a lasting working relationship – something that has been essential in the business analysis roles that I’ve undertaken. It’s important to understand the motivations behind a customer’s requirements, and really get to the bottom of what it is they want or need, and how you can help them. I also learnt a lot about managing expectations in the police, striking the right balance between doing what you can to help, and empowering people to make their own decisions, which I think is a helpful skill in working with our clients.”
Dale hasn’t lost his drive to make a real difference through policing, however. “One of the biggest challenges I faced as a police officer was the acceleration of crime, and we were constantly challenged to keep up with what was happening right in front of us. The nature of crime is changing so quickly that officers are required to keep pace with a changing threat landscape and the challenges and opportunities presented by new technologies. This is where organisations like Principle One can help. The work I’m now involved in can have an even wider impact than when I was on the front line.”
It was really exciting to host our first two police officers from Police Now last year – and apply their frontline experience to the problems that our customers face. After a crash course as business analysts, they were able to apply that experience to developing user stories and bringing to life the challenges of investigating a county lines knife crime scenario. This gave our delivery teams a far better understanding of the pressure and constraints faced by frontline officers and what would make a difference to an investigation. And in return, our secondees gained insight into how industry can offer a fresh perspective and innovative approaches to problems than may sometimes simply feel too hard when you are on the front line.
Zoe Bannon, Business Partnerships Assistant Manager for Police Now highlighted the benefits of secondments with external organisations: "We believe that a greater understanding and a closer working relationship with other sectors will lead to better collaboration, increased confidence in the police, and ultimately more effective policing. Dale has led partnership opportunities and hosted Police Now secondees at Principle One, supporting the next generation of officers and contributing to our objective of bringing policing and society closer together. We very much look forward to the 2021 secondments coming into fruition, and continuing to develop our partnership with Principle One.”
Sadly, further secondments were put on hold last year due to Covid restrictions, but we are looking forward to hosting Police Now again in 2021 as part of Principle One’s return to new normal.