Firstly high, profile employers, especially those who involve power – police being an obvious example need to recognise that they are a magnet to abusive personalities – being abusive is fairly pointless if you have no power to inflict your abuse. So all interview panels need members trained in profiling – in spotting evasive answers and knowing how to home in on aspects a candidate is trying to conceal. What can you do about the abusive personalities you already have and those that will inevitably slip through the net?
After the Savile scandal at the BBC, the big ideas were to rewrite policies and independently investigate bullying cases. Did I spend any less time on bullying cases after implementing those changes? No – policies are like wish lists; nothing changes unless you are willing to be explicit about what is and is not acceptable and how the unacceptable should be challenged. Genuine officers who join the police force for the right reasons assume their colleagues have the same healthy motivations. The first reaction when they realise this is not the case is shock and a desire to give everyone the benefit of the doubt – an abusive personalities’ playground is doubt. You have to be explicit. A healthy working environment is everyone’s responsibility. You need to get teams/departments to workshop examples, with management sometimes playing the junior roles so that everyone knows the rules and has practiced what to do when they aren’t followed.
With the police in mind, there must be a duty to report abusive behaviours. How many times does a police officer have to use the N-word before colleagues call him out? How often would a senior officer have to use the N-word before a junior colleague calls them out?
Wayne Couzens was reportedly nicknamed “The Rapist” by his colleagues as he made women feel uncomfortable. David Carrick was called “Bastard Dave” due to his propensity for cruelty. Colleagues in both cases must be spoken with to determine the warning signs. Most women police officers are more highly attuned to men who are dangerous to women than male officers are – always having been vulnerable themselves, they’ve had to be. I suggest the police force should make greater use of that ability.