Leadership and performance management

Authored by: Bob Golding , Stephen P. Savage

Handbook of Policing

Print publication date:  August  2008
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9781843925002
eBook ISBN: 9780203118238
Adobe ISBN: 9781136308529


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In November 2007, in a news item headed ‘Targets let dangerous criminal escape net’ (The Times 13 November 2007), the Chief Executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency, Peter Neyroud, challenged the ‘target culture’ surrounding the British police service, on the basis that pursuit of particular, government driven, targets – in this case around the ‘numbers of offences brought to justice’ – was becoming detrimental to the policing of serious, violent crimes. That specific case aside, this was a significant intervention in the development of performance management within British policing, because it signalled a concern amongst those clearly not unsympathetic to performance management per se that perhaps things had gone ‘too far’, or that the particular forms which performance management had taken were driving policing in inappropriate directions. Once again, it seemed, performance management in the policing context was becoming a hotly contested issue. Alongside the debate over the role of performance management in policing, another, closely related, theme has also been the focus of recent controversy: police leadership. Reflecting what has been called the ‘never-ending crisis of police leadership’ (Rowe 2006), the Labour government's radical programme of police reform, launched in the early years of the new millenium (Savage 2007a: 188–205), identified the ‘quality of police leadership’ as one area in need of reform (Home Office 2003). Although in this context what was embraced by the notion of ‘leadership’ was much more comprehensive than previous ‘crises of leadership’ – as shall be seen later, it encompassed ‘leadership’ at all levels of the police organisation, not just senior levels as tended to be the case in past debates over police leadership – once again police leadership was to be at the centre of debate and policy development.

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