Consider a recent case study involving a police executive and a scenario with social and political implications. You may select one of the cases mentioned in th


Consider a recent case study involving a police executive and a scenario with social and political implications. You may select one of the cases mentioned in this topic or select one of your choice.

Critically discuss the position of the CEO and the conflicting influences and pressures that could have been impacting upon the CEO during the particular period of time.

To complete this assignment you should:

1. Provide an introduction setting out your chosen case study.

2. Based on your reading of topics one and two, discuss the types of leadership demonstrated by the parties involved.

3. Your discussion should also examine the range of influencing factors that may have been present during this time including political influence, community satisfaction and media pressure.

4. You should also consider the impact of the effect of the leader’s actions upon all of the stakeholders involved.


Assignment two is designed to allow you to examine the position of a policing chief executive in a case study scenario.

The assignment provides the opportunity to consider the various implications of higher office and the difference between ‘legislative office v reality’.

Research and reference Material::

Topic 2: The Political and Social Interface

The Political and Social Interface

Scope of this topic

implications and high burden of public responsibility which impacts upon public and police leaders;

principles of productive and ethical relationships at the political, industrial, corporate, jurisdictional, national and international levels; and

complex nature of relationships with government and key stakeholders.

The Political and Social Interface
Reading for this topic

Reading 2.1 Yukl, G. (2006). Strategic leadership by executives. In Leadership in organisation (pp. 353-385). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Reading 2.2 J. (2004). Commissioner Mick Keelty, Australian Federal Police. Police Practice & Research, 5(4/5), 317-326.

Reading 2.3 Prenzler, T. (2004). Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon, Victoria: Australia’s first female police chief. Police Practice & Research, 5(4/5), 301-315.

Reading 2.4 Fleming, J., & Lewis, C. (2002). The politics of police reform. In T. Prenzler & J. Ronsley (Eds.), Police reform (Chap. 6., pp. 83-96). Federation Press. Available here

Reading 2.5 Jenny Fleming. Les liaisons dangereuses: Relations between police commissioners and their political masters . Australian Journal of Public Administration, Volume 63, Number 3 (September 2004), pp. 60-74.

Reading 2.6 Harvey, C. (2010) Christine Nixon: what the backlash is really all about. The Sunday Telegraph. April 11, 2010 She s a fat sheila, that s her problem

Reading 2.7 Rintoul, S & Ferguson, J. (2011) Survivors decry kangaroo court attack. The Australian. July 29, 2011.

Reading 2.8 Bolt, A. (2011) Nixon still on the hunt for excuses. Herald Sun, July 30, 2011

Reading 2.9 Drill, S. (2011) Julia Gillard launches Christine Nixon s book Fair Cop. Herald Sun, August 03, 20111 I m not here to adjudicate – Gillard

Reading 2.10 O Connor, M. (2011) Christine Nixon and David Hicks books reveal problems with accountability. The Courier Mail 8 August 2011 – Buckpassing and buck chasing

Reading 2.11 Kim, W. (2003). Tipping Point Leadership. Harvard Business Review, 81(4), 60-69.

Prescribed text reading for this topic
Jones, T. (2008). The accountability of Policing. In T. Newburn (Ed.), Handbook of policing. UK: Willan Publishing. Chapter 26.

CD Rom 1
Interview by Mick Palmer with Ken Moroney, Commissioner NSW Police.

Additional reading:

Edelbacher, M., Delip K. D., Marenin, O. (2007). Comparative problems in policing: Interviews with nineteen police leaders from different nations. Edwin Mellen Press.

The Political and Social Interface

The leadership demands of contemporary public service and business worlds do not allow the luxury of time for apprenticeships or levels of un-preparedness and uncertainty. On the other hand the requirements and expectations of the current environment demand that people are properly prepared and equipped for the challenges of leadership and that the nature of the steps taken to prepare emerging and potential leaders is sufficient to provide governments, bureaucracies, boards of directors, shareholders and other key stakeholders, including the members of the organisation to which the appointment is being made, with the confidence in the appointments that are made.

In the previous topic we touched on the benefits of retaining and learning from institutional memory of police leadership and experience. While the experiences of the past may differ, leadership lessons often survive the passage of time. The development of this topic has created contemporary institutional memory in the form of executive leadership interviews with a number of serving Commissioners. The intention of the interviews is to canvass the ideas of CEOs of Police Services who can clearly speak from experience, obviously the interviews are not only of relevance to this particular topic but they certainly do provide an inside view of the political and social pressures endured by executive police leaders in the current environment. These interviews and similar case studies form the basis of our review and discussion of the political and social interface in executive leadership.

The Political and Social Interface
Role of the CEO

It is advantageous for the members of any organisation to have a thorough understanding of the role of their own CEO, even if they do not aspire to that particular level within the organisation. As mentioned in Topic 1 an understanding of the dimensions and diversity of police leadership at the level of a police commissioner is important to effective leadership at any level of the organisation. Sadly, I personally only properly appreciated the importance of this fact after the event but the level of complexity, scrutiny and political and social challenge of contemporary policing combine to make this a defect requiring urgent treatment. Policing is a busy profession. Most practitioners are, by the very nature and demands of their direct responsibilities, focused downwards “ and often inwards and on the specific job at hand. It is difficult in this environment to expect people to form a proper appreciation of the reasons why decisions beyond their area of responsibility are made or to contribute to policy formulation or corporate decision making. It is not uncommon for a lack of understanding of the reasons why decisions were made, for example: why funding was not made available for a particular project? This ignorance of the broader influences on decisions can lead to dissention and lower morale. When this misunderstanding is not able to be corrected or addressed by line managers it can quickly fester and become an active and counter-productive impediment to the achievement of a desirable objective. “ Mick Palmer (2005).

This subject is designed to widen the student s perception of the role of the CEO in decision making and the setting of strategic goals for the organisation. Often these are competing goals and not all of the stakeholders are going to be satisfied all of the time.

To begin our exploration of the complexities of executive positions, you should now read Reading 2.1 which discusses the constraints on executives and the limitations of the position of CEO upon the overall effectiveness of any organisation. You should consider this chapter before you move on to the following readings and the CD Rom (Readings 2.2, 2.3 and CD Rom 1). You will find these reflective interviews with former Commissioners Keelty, Nixon and Moroney from the AFP, Victoria Police and New South Wales Police respectively, very insightful. You may also wish to refer to the interviews in the recommended reading below:

Edelbacher, M., Delip K. D., Marenin, O. (2007). Comparative problems in policing: Interviews with nineteen police leaders from different nations. Edwin Mellen Press.

Reading 2.2
Flemming, J. (2004). Commissioner Mick Keelty, Australian Federal Police. Police Practice & Research, 5(4/5), 317-326

CD Rom 1
Interview by Mick Palmer with Ken Moroney, Commissioner NSW Police.

Draw 3 columns on a single page. Head each one with the name of the commissioners listed above. As you read or watch the interview, list the political and social factors that emerge as considerations for these leaders. This activity will help you focus on the broader issues rather than specific problems and enable you to identify common themes and disparities.

Before moving onto the case study below you should study Readings 2.4 and 2.5 “ Fleming examines the role of politics and influence on the role of policing in the Australian context. Both readings have been included for obvious reasons in so much as they take a slightly different approach to the same subject area. Reading 2.4 in particular, highlights the importance of some of the leadership traits discussed in Topic 1 and in particular how these influence the relationships between ministers and commissioners. Reading 2.5 however, examines a strong of events highlighting the incidents of political interference. This reading provides an excellent introduction to the case study below.

When Politics and Police Leadership Collide “ A Case Study

The case study and series of readings is designed to demonstrate the impact of the modern Media and the political reality in which the current CEOs of major Law Enforcement Agencies currently exist. It highlights the difficult position of the CEO and should initiate thoughts of numerous similar instances that you will be aware of.

There is a good opportunity to compare and contrast the public perceptions of police executives before and after an event. The article (Reading 2.3) written by academic Tim Prenzler in 2004 was a congratulatory, flattering publication that correctly portrayed the perceptions and the apparent legacy of Christine Nixon as the then Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police. Nixon was the first female police commissioner in Australia and was something of a reformer working in Victoria Police towards a more open, family-friendly organization with encouragement of personal development in police staff. She also saw the relevance and necessity of evidence-based policing approaches which was unusual in Australia at that time. Her career was however, linked to controversy towards the end of her term when, at the height ( Black Saturday ) of the tragic Victorian bush fires (2009), she left the police incident room to keep a dinner engagement. She was criticised by a public enquiry (Commission into Victorian Bush Fires) for this action. Subsequently, in 2011 she published her book: Fair Cop and was roundly criticised by the media for having the temerity to publish her memoirs and fight her corner. Clearly, the public and the media had not forgotten the most controversial details of her career, although some of the (frankly sexist) criticism appeared to neglect the positive aspects of her tenure. In Readings 2.6 to 2.10, you can read through a sample of the reporting of the sequence of events that followed. These represent only a few of the numerous articles in the media frenzy which developed following the comments of the ex-Chief Commissioner.

Reading 2.6
Harvey, C. (2010) Christine Nixon: what the backlash is really all about. The Sunday Telegraph. April 11, 2010 She s a fat sheila, that s her problem

Reading 2.7
Rintoul, S & Ferguson, J. (2011) Survivors decry kangaroo court attack. The Australian. July 29, 2011.

Reading 2.8
Bolt, A. (2011) Nixon still on the hunt for excuses. Herald Sun, July 30, 2011

Reading 2.9
Drill, S. (2011) Julia Gillard launches Christine Nixon s book Fair Cop. Herald Sun, August 03, 20111 I m not here to adjudicate – Gillard

Reading 2.10
O Connor, M. (2011) Christine Nixon and David Hicks books reveal problems with accountability. The Courier Mail 8 August 2011 – Buckpassing and buck chasing

The readings also highlight the wide variety of different stakeholders that need to be considered by the modern CEO in the policing environment and the interpretations and importance that may be attributed to events which, in themselves, are simple, but when considered in a wider environment may be assessed as influential. The incident also emphasises the reality of the unavoidable tensions in the police/political relationship and the inherent difficulties associated with achieving the balance between strong integrity driven leadership and the management of the political and public interface.

You will no doubt be aware of other public debates in which recent Police CEOs have found themselves having to defend their position, sometimes in relation to operational policing issues, but often in relation to personal or non work related issues. Reference to the above example will help you consider the question below:

No doubt you are aware that there have been cases in Australia where there have been political interferences in police matters. However, political interference is not unique to Australian Policing. In October 2008 Sir Ian Blair Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police resigned stating that he felt he did not have the support of the newly appointed Lord Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London who was involved in the appointment of Blair, is well known for his left wing views, and Sir Ian Blair is noted as being tightly linked to and aligned with the Labour party. This in itself is unusual as UK Police (and Commissioners in particular) are usually seen to be apolitical and are not ‘seen’ to be aligned to any political party. Police in the UK are not allowed to be members of any political party and Blair’s open alignment when he was appointed Commissioner was seen to be unwise and potentially compromising of his position. As it has turned out, with the appointment of a new Conservative Mayor, Boris Johnson, who is an outspoken right wing ‘Tory’, Blair decided that he had no other option than to announce his resignation well before the end of his contract in 2010.

This political interference in ‘policing’ matters has caused a huge outcry in the British Media and the following links can provide insights as to how the resignation of Blair was reported and the political response from both sides of the political agenda. You will see from the following links that the interpretations of the behaviour and actions of both Blair and Johnson are varied depending on the political persuasion of the organisation reporting. As you work through the web sites you can clearly see the reporting in the Mirror newspaper, which is a low level newspaper which strongly supports the Labour party, has a vastly different view to the right wing Guardian.

This case study is a timely reminder of the important issue’s discussed in this topic and highlights the dangers of political alignment of Chief Officers with political parties who quite clearly have no appreciation of the notion of a ‘separation of power’.

Web links

This topic and the associated readings should also cause you to consider the nature of the pressure on our political leaders. Police often complain about a lack of political support or insufficient funding. It is a common oversight not to appreciate the competing pressures for public funding. Executive police leaders need to ensure that the research to support their argument to Government is thorough, valid, convincing and most of all consistent with Government policy.

Peter McAulay, former Commissioner of the AFP, used to frequently say that success in securing government support for a new initiative was only ever really based on two things; preparation and timing. He used to talk of having a couple of Cabinet Submissions in the top drawer. Whilst McAulay was being intentionally simplistic in his comments, they nevertheless have great relevance to the police/political interface and its effective operation. Again the issue is linked to the broader importance of having an understanding of the machinery of government, a recognition that the agenda of any elected government is unlikely to coincide completely with that of a single organisation, and that political decisions are inevitably made for political reasons.

In the mid 1990s the AFP embarked on a major reform agenda, at the behest of the Federal Government, aimed at properly positioning itself to deal effectively with the international environment of the 21st century. Part of this process involved a complete restructure of the organisational framework, including the dismantling of traditional divisions and branches and the abolition of the traditional rank structure. Whilst the physical restructuring of the organisation was largely a matter within the Commissioner s power and authority, the abolition of ranks required Government support and legislative change. In preparing the argument for Government support for the rank changes, which essentially aimed to abolish all National ranks below Assistant Commissioner and to replace them with a single generic rank, the support and advice of the AFP Police Association was sought. The Association proposed the title of Federal Agent and, on behalf of the organisation conducted discussions with members of the ACTU to seek their support for the principles driving the reform process. Without question, in my opinion, the support of the Police Association and the lack of opposition by the ACTU formed an important part of the considerations by government and the acceptance and adoption of the proposal. The level of preparation and the constructive roles played by key industrial bodies, together with the fact that the proposal occurred at a time when significant public sector reform was being encouraged combined to increase the chances of the government accepting a submission for change that was both quite radical and potentially industrially explosive.

Equally a submission to government can easily fail. Whilst sometimes failure may be for reasons beyond the control of the organisation their chances of success will frequently be as easily jeopardised by a lack of preparation and political sensitivity as it can be by a poorly argued budget or poor timing. An example occurred some years ago when a proposal was made to change the name of a police agency from Police Force to Police Service. The proposal was mooted as part of other structural changes including the broad banding of certain ranks, the adoption of a corporate mission statement and a move towards a genuine service culture.

Whilst the government of the day supported the overall reform agenda and was committed to a service philosophy, the submission to change the name from FORCE to SERVICE, although supported by the Police Minister, was rejected by Cabinet. Essentially the reason given was that certain Cabinet members felt the change heralded a move towards softer, less effective, policing, an argument that had been put to them by individual police members opposed to the change. Standing aside whether the initiative, in itself, had genuine merit, the argument failed because it had not been properly explained and marketed “ either to the workforce or to the government. The Police senior executive understood (or at least believed) why the name change was important to changing the operational policing mindset at the time but they had done little to convince others. In hindsight it became obvious that the executive had assumed that because it made good sense to them it would make good sense to government. “ Mick Palmer (2005).

The Political and Social Interface
Bratton’s Approach to Leadership

The next reading in this topic is a cogent review of the success of Bratton in New York in the 1990s, which, from a leadership point of view was about giving the local government, the people, and most importantly the police the latitude to approach problems and issues in a way which they felt appropriate in any given circumstance. Bratton s approach followed a period of disquiet and dissatisfaction with a perceived lack of law enforcement and a strong feeling that the general public were sick to death of civil libertarianism and of being scared to walk down their own streets. It came at a cost in terms of civil suits, complaints and increased violence and corruption among police. Broken windows / zero tolerance can be argued to have been right for the time and appropriate to tackle the particular issues of those times. Arguably however, it cannot be seen as a permanent or a long term solution.

Regardless of whether the reader agrees with the strategies employed in Bratton s approach the timing of the initiative together with the strength of public opinion, and its impact on political will are factors bearing on the potential success of the approach. There are many other lessons in terms of motivating people and leadership. Students should read through it and identify/ list the key leadership factors that they see. This reading really summarises the points made in the topic and is a good case study to effectively appreciate the various factors discussed in this topic.
Reading 2.11
Kim, W. (2003). Tipping point leadership. Harvard Business Review 81(4), 60-69

Finally the last reading in this topic is taken from the set text Newburn, T (2008). Chapter 26 of the text is written by Tim Jones and presents an overview of the Governance and Accountability of Policing in the UK at the current time. Whilst obviously presenting a comparative approach to that of Bratton in New York or your own jurisdiction, it is interesting to appreciate the variety of arrangements in existence particularly when the original foundations of Policing in Australia were in fact adopted from the UK. It is also interesting to note the changes in accountability for policing executives in the UK and ponder whether or not some of these changes may be appearing in the future, if not already, within Australian Policing.

Assignment 2

It is now time to complete Assignment 2, which is an opportunity to consider the implications of high office and the difference between legislative office and reality . Please read the requirements for the assignment carefully in the course outline before commencing.

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