A message from the Chairman
Sir Neil Thorne OBE TD DL
The Police Service Parliamentary Scheme has now been running for 16 years and during that period 80 Members of Parliament, Peers and Members of the European Parliament have taken part throughout police services in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. All of our participants have also had the opportunity to visit Holland to see how the Dutch approach policing so that they can make a comparison.
Those Members of Parliament who agree to participate have a 20 day programme which enables them to study the role of police men and women at Inspector rank and below. This being the most senior officer who deals with police constables on the beat on a day to day basis. The programme is made up of both core elements and of optional components to reflect the particular interests of an individual Member of Parliament. Core elements include a period of not less than six days attached to a specific station, where, so far as possible, the Member can be absorbed into the fabric and learn most about what police service life on the beat is really like.
Those who have done the basic course are then able to return for a post-graduate course of 20 days split up into modules of not less than five days in a year, either with the same or some other police service. This is an excellent opportunity to explore any other aspect of police work they wish.
Some Members of Parliament who have participated relate their experiences in the following pages and I do hope that their words will encourage others to follow.
I am most grateful to all our sponsors – who are listed in our brochure – for their steadfast financial support; to those Members of Parliament who are prepared to give up their valuable time in order to study the police service at close quarters, as there is no substitute for personal experience and also to the police men and women at all levels who have been most helpful.
None of this would of course have been possible without the enthusiastic support of both Ministers and Shadow Ministers who have been most encouraging throughout.