Lancashire Constabulary provides policing services across Lancashire – its six divisions look after an area of around 2,000 square miles, covering 124 miles of coastline, 256 miles of motorway and encompassing both large rural areas and major towns. Lancashire is rated as one of the country’s leading police forces, but like all forces, the Lancashire Constabulary has been facing ever tougher and more complex policing challenges – from countering threats of terrorism to maintaining high levels of neighbourhood policing.
Enhancing environmental and political analysis
In this context, developing the leadership skills of senior managers within the force was recognised as a key priority. In particular, the Constabulary was keen to enhance the abilities of its middle- and senior-ranking officers to examine key strategic issues facing Lancashire. They also wanted a programme from LUMS that would help individuals to develop their influencing skills and their powers of political analysis.
Working with a small team of key stakeholders within the force, LUMS developed a Strategic Leadership Programme, which enrolled its first cohort in 2006. Drawing participants from across the county, the programme is designed for senior managers across all divisions and disciplines of the force, and is targeted particularly at those at chief inspector and chief superintendent level. As the programme leads to an accredited qualification, those who complete the programme successfully are awarded a Postgraduate Certificate of Achievement in Leadership.
Programme design and support
The programme is structured around two five-day modules, plus executive coaching and tutorial support. Teaching takes place at the police headquarters and also at LUMS.
The taught sessions, which involve a high degree of discussion, are complemented by the executive coaching which is used to build confidence and reinforce skills particular to the roles of the individual participants. The learning from the theoretical material covered in the modules is then applied to a strategic project, in which participants focus directly on a key organisational issue arising from their own area of responsibility.
Close tutorial support and coaching from the academic team helps the participants in this process of work-based learning, and they have also access to the University library facilities, both personally and remotely.
Learning from the programme is taken back into the organisation at a high level. The final projects are presented to the Assistant Chief Constable who is a key sponsor of the programme within the Constabulary. Post-module evaluations and ongoing discussions with Constabulary managers and participants have been instrumental in helping to fine-tune the programme in terms of delivery and content to reflect the changing needs of the Constabulary.