British Transport Police – London, England
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BTP was once seen as a bit of a joke; not a real police force. The senior management over the past decade have strived to change this opinion of BTP and mould it into an effective police force. BTP is well funded by the railways and as such is often seen to recruit in times where other forces would not. The work at BTP is diverse due to the national structure. In the North, I enjoy a good work balance and I'm not snowed under like my Home Office counterparts are. I feel that I have sufficient time to carry out investigations to the full extent, with no pressure for me to "cuff" jobs. The new corporate culture brought in by Crowther is quite inspiring and will hopefully lead the force to a better place, given time.
The officers as a whole are quite resistant to change, but this is slowly changing as younger, keener officers are replacing long service officers. The new corporate culture is helping to gradually change this, but unfortunately any inspiration given to officers by senior ranks is quickly squashed upon returning to your post. Officers with long service are very negative about practically every aspect of their job and demoralise all of those around them. At the moment, rostering and operations are a bone of contention. As with all police forces, the officers lack real employment rights and are often abused, bearing the brunt of poor planning; rest days are cancelled on a regular basis during the football season. A new Evidence Based Policing operation is being rolled out across the force, however the solid science behind this is let down by the implementation at a local level and leads to more negativity from officers as a result. It seems slightly forced by senior management in some postings. The use of technology within BTP is quite laughable, with decade old computers still in use throughout the force and still using command and control software that looked like it was coded in the late 90s. BTP have took their first steps into mobile policing but have done nothing to make their current software compatible with touch screens. The force as a whole is very London centric and limited opportunities exist outside of the capital. The only benefit offered is free travel on TfL services. This is worthless for everyone outside of London. No other free rail travel is offered. No member benefits or corporate discounts apply, other than the generic "Emergency Services" discounts; even those aren't sanctioned or acknowledged. Poor work / life balance. Shift work will destroy you slowly and you will miss a lot of social occasions. This is not unique to BTP, this is part and parcel of being a police officer. There is a distinct lack of strong leadership at a local level (ranks Sergeant up to Inspector), unlike the senior leadership. Effort is not recognised or acknowledged and laziness is very seldom challenged.
Advice to Management
Morale is at an all time low. Why not give officers some incentive to do their best? Inspire them? Before you implement anything, make sure any systems, process or technology have been tried and tested by a range of different people. Keep trying to push the change in culture. Make officers proud to represent BTP.