Sunday, 23 September 2007

Common Sense Prevails

A while back, the police force introduced a set of role-playing exercises for applicants, designed to root out their hidden racial prejudices. Applicants' performances in these exercises are marked, and they are supposed to score 60% in order to demonstrate their fitness to serve as police officers.

Personally, I regard these tests with distaste. For as start, I cannot see how their accuracy can be other than highly questionable. After all, how, precisely, do you assess the accuracy of a set of tests designed to measure subconscious attitudes? Secondly, I object to the notion that someone might be declined a job, not on the basis of anything they have said or done, but on the basis of subconscious attitudes - attitudes that they didn't even know that they had. I don't know about you, but I would have thought that past conduct was a far better guide to character, than pseudo-psychological personality tests.

My scepticism was not diminished when I read about the roll-play test that one applicant was forced to take part in. As part of the application process, Chris, from Hampshire, had to pretend to be the boss of a shopping centre, who had found graffiti containing racist remarks about one of his employees daubed on a wall. He was asked what he would do in response to this, and said that his first concern would be to remove the graffiti. Which seems perfectly reasonable to me. However, he failed the test, on the basis that he should have paid more attention to "the racist aspect and its effect on staff and customers". So there you have it: actually doing something about the problem and then getting on with more important things: indicative of the bigoted mindset of a thought criminal. Making a mountain out of a molehill: indicative of fitness to be a police officer.

And it seems that these ridiculous tests are causing some police forces a few problems. Indeed the number of otherwise qualified would-be officers who are failing these tests is so large, that Hampshire Police has had to contact fully 252 of those who failed, to tell them that, actually, they can continue to the next stage of the application process. While I think that this is a damn good thing, Keith Jarrett of the National Black Police Association is not quite so happy about it. He said:
These criteria are set for a reason. The fact they are being ignored shows the duplicity of the police service. This lack of respect for a worthwhile exam means people who are unfit to be police officers may be allowed in.
Of course utterly unfit people have always been able to get into the police force. Keith Jarrett would appear to be a case in point, as would his friend Ali Dizaei. I do not see that these tests will make any difference to that. Indeed, if anything, they would appear to penalise sensible and pragmatic applicants, in favour of politically-correct morons.
Now, if only there was a test to identify potential race hustlers...

1 comment:

Daphne said...

I would fail the test. Scrubbing the grafitti off would have been my first answer too.

Guess some of us aren't sensative enough to be cops.