Police Chiefs’ Essential Leadership Principles

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The current paper presents a research of the Police Chiefs’ essential leadership principles and discusses the main particularities of police workers’ leadership, its importance, and key role. The study focuses on the possible external factors, which impact the Police Chiefs’ leadership principles and the formation of skills. The essence of police leadership consists of numerous versatile aspects and follows the manifold aims, which are purely inherent in the police work. The recommendations, which are provided at the end of the paper, make an emphasis on the weakest sides of the current situation in police leadership. They comprise of low level of education and training programs, lack of practice in managing the staff and Police Chiefs’ inability to shift to the new methods of conducting their work. The study is characterized by both the previous investigations of the topic issue and the most recent studies of the given problem.

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Police Chiefs’ Essential Leadership Principles

The current socio-economic conditions are characterized by the complicated criminal situation. This causes the need for the high-professional police personnel who would possess a robust theoretical knowledge and practical skills to perform their professional duties in everyday and extraordinary circumstances. The analysis of the professional activities of the Police Chiefs shows that the central place in it is occupied by the direct work with people. In other words, the Police Chiefs’ nature of work refers to the ‘subject-subject’ activities, while the achievement of its objectives takes place in the ‘person-person’ relations. Accordingly, the success of such events is largely determined by the ability to competently and professionally build their communication and relationships. These two aspects are known to be achieved by using the practical leadership skills the Police Chiefs are supposed to possess.

The strategic direction of police systems in many countries is considered in modern conditions by the desire for efficiency and quality of services provided to the public, as well as their organization and improvement of distribution channels. The main directions of development of the Police Chiefs’ leadership activities are linked with numerous factors of organizing police department’s proper work and functioning. This approach significantly changes the traditional understanding of the purpose of the police organization and the nature of policing in general. Therefore, this paper will discuss the Police Chiefs’ essential leadership traits and principles, their role in creating the correct organization of the police as an institution and will recommend the possible ways to improve the Police Chiefs’ leadership principles.

The Essence and Significance of Police Chiefs’ Leadership Principles

The most important aspect of police service is to provide the recognition and restoration of public confidence in the police and its support. This point is possible to be achieved only in case if Police officers and Police Chiefs are characterized by proper leadership approach and are capable of managing the department. Pearson-Goff and Herrington (2013) state that taking into account this aspect, it is possible to identify key areas of implementation of the Police Chiefs’ essential principles; they are: using the direct leadership qualities, Police Chiefs are expected to be engaged in improving the efficiency of the fight against crime; apply the maximum use of the police services; provide assistance in the development of a democratic society. Along with this, the Police Chiefs’ leadership is to ensure the human resource management proper conditions and proceeding with the high standards of professional activity. Implementation of the Police Chiefs’ leadership envisages the introduction of modern management methods of the police to ensure its greater flexibility by improving police guidelines and codes of practice. Finally, the Police Chiefs’ leadership principles have to be focused on the use of a modern system of incentives for the staff, the introduction of investment in staff to ensure its efficient training and development in the organization, the occupational health strategy of the police and others. To prove this idea, it is necessary to cite the study by Pearson-Goff and Herrington (2013) who have a conviction that the Police Chiefs are “to be able to implement and enact policies, and that this was dictated by the way they exercised their leadership in terms of communicating, problem-solving, listening to suggestions, asking people’s opinions, coaching and guiding, controlling lateness, absence, and quality” (p. 15).

The majority of the scholars believe that the state – as a decisive institution – does not provide the police – as a legislative body – with the necessary freedoms. However, according to Bryman, Stephens, and Campo (1996), “through social integrative action, leaders have an important role in counterbalancing any tendencies towards fragmentation in the organization” (p. 355). It means that, on the one hand, the police is not provided with the necessary operational flexibility, while police do not meet the existing problems. On the other hand, these are the police and its Chiefs who perform the essential role in creating the properly functioning organization of the given institution. Also, Bryman, Stephens, and Campo (1996) suppose that Police Chiefs’ leadership undergoes numerous shortcomings and the lack of development. They are caused by salary rates, restrictions on part-time employment (which leads to loss of experienced police officers), pension arrangements (which do not encourage police workers after 30 years of service to remain in the police) and so on.

According to Swid (2014), the efficiency and quality of police services depend on the formation of the police professional knowledge and Chiefs’ leadership skills. Among the measures taken, the police training reform draws special attention to the need to develop clear educational standards, providing organization and content of education needs with the primary and real practice, and creative approach to the use of teaching methods. Also, the implementation of educational programs should be “more aimed at the development of leadership skills” (Kyle & Schafer, 2016, p. 295). This approach should be regarded not only in the heads of various levels of management but the entire staff, as a whole, because “leadership creates the vital link between organizational effectiveness and people’s performance and commitment at an organizational level” (Swid, 2014, p. 584).

Such a method will enable “providing continuing professional development for all employees throughout their careers” (Densten, 2003, p. 401). These measures to reform the police, in general, create a consistent mechanism of the police as an organization that is more visible and accessible to the public, and more responsive to their needs. This vision also allows being able to provide high-quality services to citizens, ensuring their peace and security, operational reaction to changes in the environment.

Also, Swid (2014) argues that it is clear that each country is characterized by its vision and its approach to reform changes in police management and police organizations under the leadership approach of control. This is due to historical, economic, political and other characteristics of each country. However, they share many common features and, because of an absence of single approach to determine the purpose of the police, their place and role in the system of government varies. This includes the police reform causes.

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Arguably, they are common to every country – namely, the need to bring the activities of the police in line with the public administration reform’s purposes and principles and high professional standards and expectations. These factors are to be achieved only by using highly developed leadership skills and principles of the Police Chiefs.

One of the essential principles of the Police Chiefs’ leadership is their psychological safety. In practice, in the course of their performance, the police staff constantly faces the psychological problems. Their solution “takes place in conditions of acute shortage of time, when a person needs a short period of time to identify the nature of the imminent or already occurring events, objectively evaluate them and make the correct decision” (Caless & Tong, 2015, p. 56). The matter of decision making is purely a challenge for leaders. Thus, the problem of psychological preparedness is constantly in the focus of professional psychologists. All investigators emphasize the importance of mental training in improving the level of preparedness of professionals to solve the problems in challenging and extreme conditions.

Another principle of the Police Chiefs’ leadership consists in the fact that by the nature of the service, they have to deal with the most difficult social contingent, which is characterized by the presence of anti-social units, uncontrollability, and even aggressiveness. These traits are followed by the unknown nature of the criminal activity, antagonism, and hostility to the authorities. In carrying out their direct daily duties, a Police Chief also deals with various categories of officials, managers of different ranks, citizens and offenders. Analysis of professional activity shows that all actions are characterized by a high diversity of personnel, accompanied by a variety of business and interpersonal contacts with people both inside and outside the institutional system. Such an approach is characterized by the rapid change of events and the variety of the performed actions. However, possessing the properly established leadership skills and principles, the Police Officers are likely to make a correct decision, manage the staff in a proper way and solve the tasks.

Under these conditions, the leadership principles of the Police Chiefs are to comprise of various sub-branches. First, this is the ability to gain people and evoke a sense of trust. Second, leadership includes the ability to rapidly establish new contacts with people and quickly find the right tone, suitable communication formula, depending on the psychological state of the individual and characteristics of the interlocutor. Third, the Police Chiefs’ leadership principles help them to defend their point of view and give the ability to get used to the role, the ability to reincarnation. Fourth, the proper leadership principles provide the potential to listen and tactically translate a conversation on relevant topics. Finally, appropriate leadership principles give an ability to apply psychological techniques to introduce meaningful information in the activities of every employee.

The current study points to the need to raise the level of professional leadership skills of Police Chiefs using mental preparation. One of the ways to solve the current problems is the formation and development of the trainees’ professionally essential qualities, such as communicative competence and culture of communication. Also, it is significant to pay attention to the type of a leader a Police Chief belongs to. In this regard, Sarver and Miller (2014) state that the “results indicated that length of time as a supervisor was a significant negative predictor of transformational leadership ” (p. 140). Also, the scholars point out that “the number of sworn employees and race were significant predictors of transactional leadership, and that none of the independent variables made a significant difference in the likelihood of being classified as a passive/avoidant leader” (Sarver & Miller, 2014, p. 140). It means that the Police Chiefs’ leadership approaches should concern the versatile factors of their work with the staff and visitors.

This method is likely to be successfully completed my means of “achieving a positive leadership influence on police personnel,” which “incurs challenges not seen in many other occupational contexts. Police officers operate in environments with limited direct supervision, handle a diverse range of tasks, and make myriad high-discretion decisions” (Schafer, 2009, p. 240). Thus, analyzing the study by Schafer (2009), it is possible to state that, on the one hand, leadership is seen as a particular set of qualities ascribed to those, who successfully prove to influence or interact with the others. On the other hand, to lead is a process of the mostly non-violent impact towards a group or organization to stimulate them to achieve their goals. Leadership in the police is a particular type of interaction management that is based on the most efficient combination of different power sources and is aimed at encouraging people to achieve the common goals.

Leadership as a kind of control is distinct from the actual relationship management and is based more on the relationship of the ‘leader – follower’, rather than ‘boss – subordinate’ format. The leader carries out not a compulsory impact. Leadership in the police is not associated with the use of force, coercion, pressure, caused by the position of the organization or official authority. It involves the interaction of people and the leader of the support group members, in which he/she is included.

Thus, the institutionalization of police in a modern society is expected to meet the complex requirements and expectations, put up socio-cultural and political conditions, the state, and the society. Police Institute does not simply take over the existing order, and stores it, but plays a key role in the construction of a new social and cultural reality, affirming the integrative norms and values of social solidarity and progressive delegitimization and deviations’ negative influences. A constructive social mission requires a new police paradigm that defines the direction of building relationships with the community, as the primary partner and also the auditor of its activities and the new professional system’s concepts and models’ search for designing and training the competent leadership staff and the formation of human resources. A new impetus in resolving these tasks gives the approval to the Police Chiefs’ leadership principles as a conceptual framework for the elaboration of a new doctrine of the 21st-century police and justifies the actual model of the competency approach to training Police Chiefs.

Recommendations and Conclusion

Having analyzed the studies devoted to the Police Chiefs’ leadership principles, it is possible to single out the several recommendations to improve the very this aspect of policy work. First, to develop the leadership skills and principles, the Police Chiefs have to be under constant training. These educational measures are supposed to balance the knowledge acquired and personal traits to create a leadership system. Second, the principles of the leadership in the police should totally correspond to the initial aims and strategies of the institution. To achieve this purpose, it is significant to ensure that the police chiefs should be aware of the key strategies they should follow. Third, to change the Police Chiefs’ attitude towards their work and responsibilities, it is significant to conduct practical situational classes, where the police workers could practice the theory in demonstrating leadership qualities. Also, partially, these classes may take place within the police departments. Finally, the leadership principles development should be under the constant control of the police heads and scholars to be able to evaluate the level of leadership and its advantages and shortcomings of the system.

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In summary, the articles under analysis describe the main trends and approaches that define the state and development of the police leadership in modern conditions. At the same time, it is necessary to point out that over the past decades, the issue of the role of police in society, its primary functions and responsibilities, the ways of its further development have repeatedly been the subject of extensive review. They were a subject of discussions between different governments and local authorities. Such concepts as police leadership, police associations, and general public are particularly important. In particular, there is a growing influence of the central government on the development of police structures, despite the considerable autonomy of municipal police forces. Regarding the democratic nature, the police management processes are considered typical for most Western countries (state police forces and their subordination to different ministries). Also, the development of the Police Chiefs’ leadership skills marks the intensification of international cooperation of law enforcement authorities in the field of public order and many other important issues. All of them, given the nature and content of the changes, are the subject of the internal affairs of the country.

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