You are known for your promotion of
the Crimestoppers initiative. How did
you become involved in this and why?
I knew the Met well through development
and partnership programmes and my Sunday
Times books. The then commissioner felt
my experience, both inside and outside
the job, could be of value to the
Crimestoppers board. There was an
urgency to better market Crimestoppers
but before we could 'sell' Crimestoppers
to the world outside, it had to be
better understood and utilised within
the service itself.
How much of an impact do you think
Crimestoppers has had on the police
and in their crime-fighting efforts?
A significant impact progressing
intelligence-led policing initiatives.
Also a greater use today of the 0800 555
111 number across community, media,
police posters, within incident rooms
and programmes such as <>
Crimewatch UK <>. The figures
speak for themselves. Whether you look
at actionable intelligence figures or
those for arrests and clear ups; it's
You have worked as a consultant for
many companies, including Texaco and
British Aerospace, in improving
motivation and staff and customer
relations. What lesson do you think
forces can learn from these companies?
At a recent seminar I asked how many
police officers in the room were wearing
Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren,
Adidas, etc. More than 90 per cent -
what does that tell us? The importance
of marketing; keeping in front and
staying there; winning over customers'
hearts and minds; selling 'brand'
loyalty; logo pride; consistent
standards; and reliable product quality.
Do you think forces place enough
emphasis on motivating their staff?
How could they improve?
There are two ranks who are major
players in motivating police officers -
sergeants and inspectors. I see many of
them suffocating producing pages of
performance prowess and stultifying
statistics. It's a wonder they have any
time to train, develop, motivate,
excite, enthuse, energise the people at
the front end of the business. It's also
about feedback. I am not too impressed
with many of the appraisal systems I've
seen within UK forces. I question
whether they are perceived by officers
to be worth the paper they are written
on. Sadly, sometimes the higher you go
in an organisation the dumber you get.
What advice would you give senior
officers on how to improve the quality
of service they deliver to the
community, what would it be?
Cut the crap and listen before you
decide. My grandpa said: 'Listen to the
sound of the river if you want to catch
a fish.' Officers should have time to
ingratiate themselves into their
community and, vitally, their work must
be recognised at appraisals. It's common
sense in excellence organisations that
you involve your customers, listen to
them, then act and deliver. Sadly,
common sense is not so common.
A Home Office working group is
currently looking at ways to improve
the calibre and quality of future
police leaders. Have you ideas how
they could do this?
Future police leaders should not block
themselves off from trends in a wider
society, or be isolated within their
police culture. It's important leaders
have their feet on the ground. I know
one senior officer in the Met who, if he
said he wanted volunteers to go with him
over a mountain, would have a battalion
follow demanding 'Just tell us when,
Guv'. He's kicked arse, got results.
He's been there and done it. When you
meet that officer, the characteristic
that stands out above all others is his
talking the same language and beliefs as
the officers coming with him.
You are described by many officers as
having a sense of humour. What is the
funniest thing anyone has ever said
about you and was it true?
I stood in for Peter Mandelson at short
notice at the international customer
symposium for British Aerospace
involving 300 dignitaries. It was
suggested afterwards that I was a cross
between Sir John Harvey Jones and Billy
Connolly. Judge for yourself.
Have you ever been tempted by a
career into the police?
This was suggested to me when I was 17
years old by my boyfriend, a Strathclyde
sergeant. However, I became a nurse
instead and on into business. I'm
confident, reviewing my career and the
experience I now bring to the police
service, that it was the correct
Who in the police service have you
most admired and why?
Former Met Commissioner Sir Peter
Imbert. As a radical leader he resided
over a complete cultural change from the
Metropolitan Police Force to the
Metropolitan Police Service. He did much
inspiring, innovative work - ahead of
What is the best piece of advice
anyone has ever given you?
A difficult one, and all have been true.
From Granny: 'Always give men space in
the bathroom - especially in the
morning.' From Mum: 'You can't buy
respect - you've got to earn it.' From
my mentor: 'Be nice to nerds, chances
are you'll end up working for one.' From
my Dad: 'Life's not fair, get used to
it.' He was a sergeant major in the
Argylls. Now he'd have made a copper's