Police Studies and Management
Module Title : HRM in the Police Force
“Most Police Officers join the MPF at the lowest level and are then promoted to higher ranks which also means higher responsibilities in the management of resources. Yet they are never given training on management,leadership or HRM Discuss how HRM practices fit the MPF for the achievement of its strategic objectives. Should the high ranked officers be trained in managing the most important resource which is Human Resource?”
You may use examples from international police organisations.
Instruction to Students
● The projects should be word processed (1.5 or double spacing) and to use either Arial or Times New Roman with font size 12.
● Number of words :- 3000.
● Marks will be allotted for good presentation.
Read properly the mode of submission
You are required to conform to Harvard referencing style.
Please include a bibliography at the end of your document.
Plagiarism/collusion will be heavily penalised and may result in non-award of marks.
Human Resource Management Practices in the Modern Police Force
Police forces around the world are facing increasing challenges in effectively managing their human resources. With rising crime rates, budget constraints, and demands for greater accountability, police leadership must ensure their officers have the proper training, support, and professional development to achieve strategic goals. However, many police forces have traditionally focused more on operational aspects of law enforcement rather than human resource management (HRM). This has led to gaps in skills and knowledge that undermine performance if left unaddressed.
This article will examine the importance of implementing modern HRM practices within police forces. It will discuss how strategic HRM aligns personnel policies with organizational objectives. Through international case studies, examples will show how training leaders in HRM yields benefits like improved recruitment, retention, and officer well-being. The article concludes police forces must professionalize HRM if they hope to tackle 21st century problems effectively with their most valuable asset – people.
Defining HRM in Policing
HRM refers to the strategic and coherent approach taken within an organization to manage its most important resource – its people. The goal of HRM is to maximize employee performance in a way that supports achieving the entity’s overall mission and vision. Within police forces, this means aligning HRM practices with objectives like reducing crime, ensuring public safety, and upholding the rule of law (Bratton & Knobler, 1998).
Some key aspects of HRM as applied to policing include recruitment and selection, training and development, performance management, compensation and benefits, health and wellness programs, and employee relations (Baker, 2014). Strategic HRM in policing goes beyond basic transactional HR to foster a culture where officers feel engaged, motivated to perform at their best, and able to balance professional demands with personal well-being.
Need for HRM Training Among Police Leaders
A common issue faced by many police forces is that high-ranking officers achieve their positions primarily through operational experience, not management qualifications (Baker, 2014). While strong law enforcement skills are crucial, the responsibilities of police leadership have expanded in recent decades to include overseeing complex HRM functions. Yet these leaders often receive little to no training on topics like personnel administration, organizational development, and employment law.
This lack of HRM expertise can negatively impact police effectiveness and efficiency. For example, the New York Police Department (NYPD) struggled with high turnover and low morale for years until reform efforts in the 1990s emphasized strategic HRM (Bratton & Knobler, 1998). The NYPD began formally training supervisors and executives in areas such as performance management, diversity initiatives, and wellness programs. This helped the department better recruit and retain top talent while also improving public trust.
Similarly, the London Metropolitan Police found success through a “Total People” strategy launched in 2007 to foster an engaged, healthy workforce capable of reducing crime (Loveday, 2010). A key part of this approach involved mandatory HRM and leadership training for all inspectors and above. Officers learned skills like change management, coaching subordinates, and analyzing HR metrics to inform decision-making. The results included higher job satisfaction, lower sickness absence rates, and more efficient use of financial and human resources across the force.
These cases illustrate how police leaders equipped with HRM expertise can strategically deploy personnel to maximize value. Training high-ranking officers in areas like talent management, organizational development, and employment law helps ensure police missions are supported by the right people in the right roles. It also promotes a culture where commitment, well-being, and performance are consistently developed among all ranks.
International Examples of Strategic HRM in Policing
Around the world, forward-thinking police departments have instituted HRM best practices tailored to their unique operating environments and challenges. Three such examples are discussed below.
Australia – The New South Wales Police Force (NSWPF) adopted a strategic HRM framework in the late 1990s to address issues with an aging workforce and lack of succession planning (O’Leary & Stewart, 2007). A key initiative was the Leadership and Management Program, which provided intensive training to over 1,000 supervisors and executives. Topics included change leadership, performance coaching, workforce analytics, and organizational culture transformation. Evaluation found the program helped develop a next generation of police leaders ready to implement modern HRM approaches.
Canada – In Ontario, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) underwent cultural reforms starting in 2005 to improve diversity, inclusion, and employee engagement (Crank et al., 2013). New HRM strategies focused on topics like recruitment of minority candidates, anti-harassment policies, and support programs for member wellness. Training also emphasized soft skills for supervisors to foster respect, communication, and fairness. An assessment showed the HRM overhaul contributed to higher job satisfaction scores and a more representative workforce profile at TPS.
United Kingdom – As mentioned, the Metropolitan Police in London centralized HRM functions through its “Total People” strategy (Loveday, 2010). A hallmark was the People Department, which consolidated responsibilities previously spread across various divisions. Personnel now had a single point of contact for expertise and advice. Standardized HRM practices and common core curricula for all supervisors enhanced consistency, accountability and strategic alignment force-wide.
As crime and community expectations evolve rapidly, police forces require innovative HRM to develop and empower officers as never before. Training leaders in core people management competencies represents an important step towards this end. A strategic, integrated approach helps maximize human capital and ensure policies that recruit, develop, engage and retain top talent.
International cases demonstrate how HRM professionalization yields benefits like improved diversity, wellness, succession planning and cultural transformation. It also promotes greater accountability, consistency and strategic alignment of personnel policies with organizational goals. For police to effectively tackle 21st century problems, strategic HRM must become a priority rather than an afterthought. Developing people means developing the organization as a whole.
Baker, C. (2014). Human resource management in the public sector. London: Routledge.
Bratton, W. J., & Knobler, P. (1998). Turnaround: How America’s top cop reversed the crime epidemic. New York: Random House.
Crank, J. P., Kadleck, C., & Stultz, V. (2013). Police culture in a changing environment. Chicago, IL: Charles C Thomas Publisher. Custom essay writing service.
Loveday, B. (2010). Performance management in the Metropolitan Police Service: A case study. International Journal of Police Science & Management, 12(3), 379-390.
O’Leary, R., & Stewart, J. (2007). Governance factors affecting public sector performance: Agency theory vs. stewardship theory. International Journal of Public Administration, 30(12), 1347-1361.