I was at the Conservative spring conference last weekend. I was heartened to hear the sensible and practically based speech made by the Home Secretary, Theresa May (unlike some other previous holders of that august office of state).
She talked much sense about what troubles our law enforcers and put forward several sensible suggestions as to what, in these very dificult times, needs to be considered to ensure efficient, value-for-money policing.
I guess that there were many other things that she also could have said, but for me, sitting there at the conference for the first time, free to openly display political bias with my new-found status as a recently retired police officer, for me there was one glaring omission.
So what is this big issue? It is simply the culture that discourages police managers from managing.
I am not talking about Chief Superintendents and above: their role is - and for a long time has been - political (mainly with a small 'p'); I am talking about Sergeants and Inspectors.
We have swung from the dark days of blind obedience when I joined over thirty years ago, pretty much straight past the sensible point somewhere in the middle, and on to an ethos where intructions are often seen as harrassment and discipline is seen as opression. Yes, there is usually still compliance and yes, of course, good supervisors display logic and a willingness to explain and educate; but the slight stare or the small sneer often seem to betray the thought "Why do you think you can tell me what to do?"