This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Dancing on the glass ceiling

Ten years ago, I was beginning to plan a series of Open Space events with the Metropolitan Police. I led the team from the Office for Public Management to work with Denise Milani, Carole Howlett, Catherine Crawford, Des Stout, Martin Wilson and (now Sir) Bernard Hogan-Howe (among others) on the design and process of the events.

The 4 workshops were held on four corners of London and involved over 800 women. There were one hundred and fifty seven separate discussion groups held over the four events.

You can read all about the events here in this archived entry from the Metropolitan Police Authority. You will see that a number of key points are summarised under various headings including:
To address the macho culture, which consists of a range of norms and behaviours from working long hours to tacit acceptance of sexual harassment and assault, sexist language and behaviour and the use of gender specific language.
So that was ten years ago. The question I have now for women and men from the Met is: have things improved for women working in the Met Police since then? (I really hope so.)


Personal note: It is an odd and poignant coincidence that I happened to be thinking of this piece of work today. I dug out the information because I am looking into bidding to do some similar work for another client. The link to that tender arrived to my inbox this afternoon. My colleague and good friend Kate Dixon was part of the OPM project team. Indeed Kate, as "event historian", led on producing the report of the events.

It is with the saddest of ironies (the events were also about the service provided by the Met to London women) that Kate was a victim of domestic violence last year. She was killed by a former boyfriend who appeared in court today to plead guilty to manslaughter. (Time will tell as to whether he is finally convicted of that or murder.)

Kate was simply the most amazing person and touched the lives of many people. Her funeral was attended by the leader of the council, the chief executive, the night security staff and everyone in between. Islington Council (where she was working) have planted a tree in memory of her. She is very sadly missed by her family, partner, friends and colleagues. RIP Kate.

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