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Adopting 'agile leadership' in the Police Service.

Smith, Robert


Robert Smith


The police service in Britain is undergoing a period of rapid and significant change both organisationally and environmentally a fact appreciated Sir Ronnie Flannigan (Flannigan, 2008: 1) in his review of policing in England and Wales. Flannigan (2008: 7) made a call for a fundamental redesign of structures which support policing and indeed made a plea for more “entrepreneurial and innovative solutions from the leaders of the police service at all levels”. Interestingly, he repeated this plea for chief constables to take a more entrepreneurial approach to leadership later on in the report (Flannigan, 2008: 36). For the purpose of clarity, Entrepreneurial Policing is a term used for “The repeated implementation of a combination of creative and innovative management and leadership practices in an operational policing context which involve a degree of risk to the instigator not sanctioned by virtue of traditional bureaucratic authority. The risk may be financial or reputational". Consequentially, this briefing paper makes a proposal for the adoption of an enhanced level of team working within the service facilitated via a form of visionary leadership known as ‘Agile Leadership’. This practice necessitates the deliberate instigation of ‘Agile Teams’ formed from different disciplines for a specific purpose or project. Agile leadership per se thus spans the boundaries of the practices of management and leadership. This can be problematic because management and leadership particularly in the police service are frequently conflated making it necessary to define both terms in relation to this paper.


SMITH, R. 2008. Adopting 'agile leadership' in the Police Service. SIPR Briefing Paper, 5. Dundee: Scottish Institute for Policing Research, School of Social Sciences, University of Dundee.

Report Type Discussion Paper
Online Publication Date Aug 31, 2008
Publication Date Dec 31, 2008
Deposit Date Nov 28, 2011
Publicly Available Date Nov 28, 2011
Publisher Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR)
Keywords Police service; Agile methodology; Leadership
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