Saturday, 9 January 2010

Civilian Under Cover Policeman

Hello, Hello, Hello what's going off here then? Stuart Howatson (This is NOT a picture of Mr Howatson btw) has been nicked for conning his family into believing that he was London Metroploitan Police Officer in a classic tale of gullibility. This is a great example of how con artists control the situation rather than people. Simply by setting a place at his wedding for 'his boss' the London Metropolitan Police Chief he reinforced the belief in the minds of his con victims that he really was what he claimed to be.

Politeness, trust, and the desire to 'believe' are all the things a con artist preys on. If you want to avoid being gullible you need to keep a skeptical view. This doesn't mean being cynical but it does mean checking for evidence, it does mean looking after 'Me Inc.' because if you don't the con artist who really is looking after 'Me Inc.' will have you on a string.

If someone you love appears to be a Policeman and you are suspicious that they are not what they seem. Why not start thinking and acting like a Policeman yourself. The London Metropolitan Police service say they wish to recruit people who are good at:

Effective communication
Problem solving
Personal responsibility

amongst other things. I'm suprised they don't emphasise curiosity and skepticism too. Mind you looking at the 'managerilaist and HR tone' of their web site it seems that some of the fundamentals have got lost in in the wash of 'business school management speak'

They say they are looking for the core competences Well anyone who has actually read and understood Hamel and Prahalad will realise the things they are talking about are 'skills' not competences. Not only that core competences really relates to organisations not people! If you are a senior Met officer reading this don't be conned by your HR people!

Its also interesting that the skills relate to organisational behaviours rather than the delivery of value in terms of what the police officer is there to do. If I was in charge of the Met I would list the personal qualities as things that the person'does' not what they 'are':

i) Be open minded (which would encourage a respect for diversity and affect curiosity)
ii)Be an effective Social Influencer (much more profound than 'effective communication and teamworking'
iii) Be good at behavioral Pattern Spotting and Sense-Making (deeper than problem solving)
iv) Be Independent Self Driven concern for making a difference to people and communities
v)deter and prevent crime
vi)catch criminals (doh is that a bit too obvious!)


  1. VERY good point. This is just one of the reasons why HR has lost credibility. What a load of old X@@£$£%

  2. Glad you approve Scott! A critical glance at much of the management language swallowed whole in every business discipline (none more so than my home patch of marketing) is long overdue. Beyond the MBA is where we need to head!...and are heading in any leading Business School.