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Force to roll out mandatory training to counter 'canteen culture'

Around 5,000 more officers will take part in the online training programme.

Police Scotland are set to roll out a mandatory training programme for around 5,000 sergeants, inspectors and their police staff equivalents aimed at enhancing “leadership behaviours”.

The programme, Your Leadership Matters [YLM], has already been rolled out to senior leaders at superintendent or police staff equivalent and above in 2021.

It was designed and delivered by Ernst and Young following a procurement exercise. 

In April this year it was launched for chief inspectors and their staff equivalents.

The force said it represents a “significant investment in our leaders and a commitment to improving the existing workplace culture”.

Police Oracle understands that YLM consists of live training done online (not Moodle) and spans a number of different sessions.

It will include interactive elements – break out rooms and input from senior leaders. It runs for 14 hours in total. 

The three leadership behaviours defined as part of the programme are; lead and learn inclusively, have the courage to do the right thing and collaborate for growth. 

The announcement comes ahead of a Policing Together update due at tomorrow’s meeting of the Scottish Police Authority. Policing Together was launched in September last year designed to provide a focal point on equality, diversion and inclusion. In February an ACC portfolio was created to deliver on the strategy. 

A separate report for the SPA, by the Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Human Rights Independent Review Group, looking into the culture of the force, has found “instances of ongoing discrimination against minoritised communities, including first-hand accounts of racism, sexism and homophobia” by serving officers.

The independent review group’s report said that there was a “constant stream of news about the Metropolitan Police Service” and that there was a “general acknowledgement that Police Scotland was far from immune from the issues raised”.

Meanwhile, when discussing the Policing Together update tomorrow, the SPA will be told it is “clear issues persist” from looking at exit interviews and feedback, and that in order to rid the force of “canteen culture” those in leadership must drive the change.

The 16-page report said: “There is an expectancy on leaders to reinforce that offensive ‘banter’, sexual harassment, bullying, demeaning or intimidating actions, homophobia, casual racism and, discrimination towards those with disabilities are not compatible with the values of a police officer or member of staff.

“Policing is relentless and often puts our officers and staff in difficult and demanding situations; many will use humour, banter and ‘canteen culture’ as a way of coping with these stresses.

“However, when analysing grievances, exit interviews and survey/consultation feedback, it is clear issues persist.

“One such issue is claiming ‘it’s just banter’ or ‘it’s just a joke’ to justify or disguise offensive and inappropriate comments and behaviour to their collages and/or members of the public.”

Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor said: “As part of our Policing Together programme we are investing to give every police leader the skills and tools they need to build effective teams which live our values and we are improving our knowledge and learning on inclusion.

“Because of policing’s position of trust and authority in society we are held to high standards and through rigorous recruitment, vetting, prevention, and conduct measures our vigilance has never been stronger.”

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